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Boy Scouts of America Votes To Allow Gay Members, Retains Ban On Gay Leaders

Jim Burroway

May 23rd, 2013

The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council this afternoon passed a resolution to allow gay youth to become Boy Scout members. The resolution passed with a 61% to 38% margin. According to a BSA press release:

“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.”

The BSA’s retention of the ban on gay adult leaders means that as soon as a gay Boy Scout turns 18  — even if he is an Eagle Scout in the Order of the Arrow (the Scout’s national honor society) — that Scout will suddenly become a pariah in his troop instead of a young adult leader.

The Boy Scout’s new policy goes into effect January 1, 2014.



Priya Lynn
May 23rd, 2013 | LINK

I’m surprised there was such a big margin in favour. I don’t think it’ll be very long and they’ll realize they now look absurd banning adult gays and change that as well.

May 23rd, 2013 | LINK

As much as I dislike the details of this decision, I can’t help but think this will usher in the next step of accepting gay leadership as well. Once fellow scouts begin to see their fellow Eagle Scouts being cast out, the injustice of it will be undeniable.

Timothy Kincaid
May 23rd, 2013 | LINK

I hope you are right, Priya Lynn. I think it’s eventual, but I hope it’s sooner rather than later.

Richard Rush
May 23rd, 2013 | LINK

“The Boy Scout’s new policy goes into effect January 1, 2014.”

I assume that until 12/31/2013 Scouts discovered to be gay will be thrown out, right? So, will they be allowed back in on 1/1/2014?

May 23rd, 2013 | LINK

People tend to overlook that from 2004 (it was a bit vague before then) until sometime in the last couple of years, lgbt youth were not banned though they could not hold youth leadership positions (e.g., patrol leader) which effectively banned boys from becoming Eagle scouts (they have to lead other scouts in doing their project).

So the BSA has moved possibly an increment in the last few years, one step backwards in banning gay youth, one step forward in unbanning them and presumably dropping the ban on them holding youth leadership positions.

This is probably too late for Ryan Andresen since he is over 18 though it would be nice if they considered special circumstances and gave him the Eagle he earned. Anyway the BSA claimed he was an atheist (a charge he denies) and the ban on atheists has not changed.

May 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Question to people who’ve been following this: What was the result expected to be? Is the margin larger or smaller than expected?

Timothy Kincaid
May 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Marcus, I wasn’t exactly sure what I thought would happen so the margin was a bit of a surprise. But it probably shouldn’t have been – it was the ‘compromise’ decided on beforehand.

May 24th, 2013 | LINK

So, according to the BSA, I and everyone like me is still a bad role model for kids. Forget my Master’s degree, my membership in Phi Beta Kappa or my moral beliefs, because I have TEH GAY children should not be around me. How lovely. As far as I am concerned, the organization remains anti-American their policies and should be shunned by all right-thinking people.

Richard Rush
May 24th, 2013 | LINK

This new split policy is simply incoherent, and I predict it won’t last very long. As time goes on and gay boys are thrown out on their 18th birthday, the magnitude of incoherence will become glaringly obvious and offensive to everyone except the intractable bigots.

Imagine how an out gay scout (and the people who love him) will feel as he approaches his 18th birthday knowing that he will instantly become a toxic dangerous threat who must be removed from proximity to all his slightly younger scouting friends so he can’t harm them.

May 24th, 2013 | LINK

I will cast my vote with Cpt_Doom. As long as gay adults and atheists are portrayed as inferior beings, the organization is not one I would support or want to be a member.

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