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.