Boy Scouts Set To End Ban On Gay Members

While the nation’s attention is set on the standoff in Boston, the Boy Scouts are letting it known that they are preparing to lift the ban on gays being members:

(Reuters) – The Boy Scouts of America called to end a long-standing ban on openly gay members, a spokesman said on Friday, but the organization’s board must still vote in May on whether to ratify the resolution.

If the vote is approved, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Deron Smith, the organization’s spokesman, told Reuters.

Smith noted that the decision drew from three months of research, surveys and discussions and was “among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.”

The deliberations over whether to admit openly gay and lesbian members to the Boy Scouts has divided organizers, polarized its corporate and religious sponsors, and placed the group at the center of a nationwide debate over gay rights over the past two years.

“This is a historic change for the Boy Scouts,” said Patrick Boyle, whose 1994 book “Scout’s Honor” examined sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America.

When this first came up several months ago, there was an uproar from many on the right, which is what led to the three-month study period. It will be interesting to see how vigorous they are in trying to block the change now assuming that the votes are there to do it.

FILED UNDER: General
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. J-Dub says:

    Allowing gays in is just a ploy to make the Boy Scouts seem less gay.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Oh wow I thought it was just a ban on gay adults; I didn’t know that they banned gay scouts. That’s even more appalling.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    This is good. Late but good.

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Rusty Shackleford:

    Yeah, this all came to a head when an exemplary scout was denied his Eagle Scout honour because of his sexual orientation, despite being in scouts for multiple years and completing every requirement.

    A lot of scout alums I know where queasy about the scouting’s ban on gay leaders, but they weren’t willing to fight that fight. When it came to denying children the chance to be scouts because of their sexual orientation, attitudes changed quickly.

  5. Gustopher says:

    But athiests are still out, right?

  6. Caj says:

    Glad to hear it. It’s about time. Times have changed and young people don’t understand why older people are so stuck in a time warp. Everyone should be free to be who they are and love who they want. It’s called freedom of choice. Some tend to forget that!

  7. EazieCheeze says:

    Here’s a better question: WHY ARE YOU ADULTS ASKING A 6-16 YEAR OLD BOY WHAT HIS SEXUAL PREFERENCE IS?

  8. Jeremy says:

    @Gustopher: My thoughts exactly.

  9. Jeremy says:

    Thank goodness. It’s about time the Boy Scouts got onboard.

  10. Tim says:

    @EazieCheeze:

    WHY ARE YOU ADULTS ASKING A 6-16 YEAR OLD BOY WHAT HIS SEXUAL PREFERENCE IS?

    Adults in the BSA were NOT asking scouts about their sexual preference. That particular issue only came up when a scout would come forward (out of the closet) and announce it. There was a long history (but no official policy) in the BSA of “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it came to the sexual orientation of youth members.

    I’m glad that BSA is finally coming around on the issue. I’ve been a scout and registered leader almost 50 years. It’s a fine organization but, at the national level, many of the major policy decisions have to pass muster with the sponsoring organizations. These include many major religious groups, across the spectrum. My hope is that, once the ban is lifted, many non-church civic organizations (PTAs, Rotary Clubs, Volunteer Fire Departments, etc.) will come back into the fold as sponsors. These are groups who walked away from the scouting movement over the years partly because of the ban. Perhaps these groups will help offset the influence over policy that comes from the church groups.

  11. Dave says:

    @Neil Hudelson: it is worth noting that many eagle scouts protested and are still currently protesting that decision.
    http://eaglebadges.tumblr.com/

  12. Tyrell says:

    @Gustopher: “Atheists are still out” : Let’s hope so and the BSA should certainly stand their ground on this one!! If people do not like the rules they are free to join another organization or form their own.

  13. DC Loser says:

    The Atheist thing varies from troop to troop. Those affiliated with religious organizations naturally will be much more upset about an atheist member than one who is not a religiously affiliated organization. I know in my troop, we talk about duty to God, but frankly we don’t care about nor ask about a scout’s religion. If presses, they can just say they are Universalists 🙂

  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Dave:

    I know. I am one of them.

  15. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    @EazieCheeze breathlessly asks, WHY ARE YOU ADULTS ASKING A 6-16 YEAR OLD BOY WHAT HIS SEXUAL PREFERENCE IS?

    Because kids are sexual beings, just immature ones. I knew of my sexual orientation beginning with memories as early as four years old. One does not suddenly become aware of sex upon having it for the first time. It’s rather naive to think that kids do not think about sex, and often.

    It’s also not about asking anyone anything. It’s about not shutting someone out once the deeper truth of that person is revealed, and that truth is not only harmless, but for them, beautiful and life-sustaining.

    Glad to see the Boy Scouts may be about to acknowledge this truth. Will they take another look at atheists?

  16. matt bernius says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    [T]his all came to a head when an exemplary scout was denied his Eagle Scout honour because of his sexual orientation, despite being in scouts for multiple years and completing every requirement.

    If this passes, I hope they retroactively award him his Eagle (as I’m pretty sure he’s turned 18 in the meantime)