The same council that initially denied gay Boy Scout, Ryan Andresen, his Eagle award has adopted new principles with the intent of being inclusive of LGBT members. This follows the results of a council-wide survey, which found that 65 percent of respondents wanted to change current membership policies and 81 percent LGBT members and leaders in the BSA.
Now the California council is publicly calling on the national organization to adopt a similar policy. (California is the first state to do so.) The council’s new membership language, which was adopted on March 16, now reads:
“The results of the MDSC Membership Standards Survey and the discussions of our committee have reaffirmed the role that the Scouting Movement has had and can continue to have in shaping the lives and values of young people. However the current BSA membership policy clearly excludes an entire group based on a presumption of behavior rather than on the actions of individuals. Excluding an entire group of people based on stereotypes and prejudices is inconsistent with the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The current membership policy is of deep concern to many in the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council for its potential to undermine the future vitality of the Scouting movement.
Chartered Organizations have always and will continue to create Scouting Units that are consistent with their organizational faiths, standards and deeply held beliefs. However, we believe that the national BSA board should not pass this important decision from BSA’s governing body to Chartered Organizations. Rather, we believe that the national board should adopt a standard policy, consistent with the Scout Oath, Scout Law, and he principles documented within this report, which ends the isolation and exclusion of LGBT individuals.”
The BSA is expected to meet in May when it’ll finally make a decision on its discrimination policies. “There are just sixty five days until the May vote, and Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council has shown what’s possible when we come together in friendly, courteous conversation,” said Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls.