The Boy Scouts of America today voted to lift the ban on gay scouts, but left in place the ban on gay adult leaders. After years of losing corporate and government support for their discriminatory policies, not to mention the support of an ever increasing percentage of the general population, the Scouts took a half-step out of the increasingly unpopular past of anti-gay bias.
It remains to be seen if large corporate donors will return as long as the ban on adult leaders remains in place, or if some will return to the Scouting fold.
It’s a half-step forward, but it leaves the organization in the odd position of telling young men that it’s OK to be a gay scout, but they’re unsuited to be an adult leader. The intransigent old guard of the BSA national organization still has a long way to go, and I bet it will be their accountants that will eventually convince them that to survive in the 21st century, they must leave their bias and homophobia and ignorance behind. We’ll wait and see how long it takes them to figure this all out.
The BSA announcement after the jump.
The Boy Scouts of America Statement:
“For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.
“Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization’s long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting’s mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change.
“Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.
“This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.
“The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.
“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America’s youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.”
Not good enough, BSA…. not good enough.