According to GLAAD “approximately 1,400 members of the Boy Scouts National Council convened in Grapevine, Texas today and the resolution passed 61.4%. The new membership standards, which state that ‘no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,’ will take effect on January 1, 2014.”
The media watchdog group has been instrumental in getting the ban lifted and vows to continue working for full inclusion of gay parents and leaders.
“The Boy Scouts of America heard from religious leaders, corporate sponsors and so many Scouting families who want an end to discrimination against gay people, and GLAAD will continue this work with those committed to equality in Scouting until gay parents and adults are able to participate,” GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro said in a statement.
“Today’s vote ending discrimination of gay Scouts is truly a historic moment and demonstrates the Boy Scouts of America’s commitment to creating a more inclusive organization,” said Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout and Founder of Scouts for Equality. “Scouts for Equality is honored to be a part of the movement that has achieved a tremendous victory towards the fight for equality in America and we are proud to call ourselves Scouts. We look forward to the day where we can celebrate inclusion of all members and are committed to continuing our work until that occurs.”
The BSA’s ban on gay leaders and Scouts has been widely criticized, with Scouts turning in their badges, corporations dropping their sponsorships and even President Obama called them out on their discriminatory policy. Twice.
In 2000, former Assistant Scoutmaster James Dale took the Boy Scouts to court after he was kicked out for being gay. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the Justices ruled 5-4 that opposition to homosexuality is part of the BSA’s “expressive message.”