Scout's Honor

Boy Scouts Agrees To Reexamine No-Gays Policy

Well, at least the Boy Scouts of America will consider lifting its ban on adult leaders who are gay, although no policy revision is expected anytime soon. According to the Associated Press:

The resolution was submitted by a Scout leader from the Northeast in April and presented last week at the Scouts’ national meeting in Orlando, Fla., according to BSA spokesman Deron Smith.

Smith said Wednesday it would be referred to a subcommittee, which will then make a recommendation to the national executive board. The process would likely be completed by May 2013, according to Smith, who said there were no plans at this time to change the policy.

It’s a step up from a couple weeks ago, when Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock told the AP that the BSA had “no plans to revisit the Scouts’ policy of not allowing gays.” Although, to immediately quality it with “nothing’s gonna change” isn’t reassuring.

This follows on the heels of a petition presented last week at the national convention by Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, which had more than 280,000 signatures protesting the ousting of lesbian mom Jennifer Tyrrell as a den mother.

Regarding the group’s response to yesterday’s resolution, Wahls said, “Up to the day they end this policy, they’ll be saying they have no plans to do so. But there’s no question it’s costing the Boy Scouts in terms of membership and public support.”

That’s a scout who’s kept his honor.

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  • Cam

    The problem is, the majority of scout troops now are run through the Mormon or Catholic churches and that is where they get their support. Even if the Scout leadership wants to do it, there is no way the Mormons will change their tune on it.

  • chris

    What about the gay kids they tossed out?

  • Jeff Atwood

    The bigots at the BSA are waiting until 2013 to make a decision in the hope that the homophobe will be elected to the White House. Their decision will hinge entirely on who wins the election this year.

  • 1equalityUSA

    Or Mormons could “go progressive” on this, in hopes of getting strap-the-family-dog-to-the-roof-of-the-car pin-a-kid-down-with-the-help-of-cruel-friends-chop-hair-off-with-scissors-Romney elected. The ink isn’t even dry on the pledge he signed for NOM. Don’t fall for this manipulative, sudden LGBT tolerance thing.

  • Hyhybt

    The idea is to make it a local option, which wouldn’t affect troops controlled by unfriendly churches (though in this area it’s always possible they’d turn out to be less unfriendly than you assume.)

    Anybody know why it’s only troop *leaders* this would affect, rather than also allowing actual gay scouts?

  • Codswallop

    Surgeon General’s Warning: Holding your breath while waiting for the Mormon and Catholic church-supported Boy Scouts of America to change their policy on gay people can cause hypoxia and death.

  • Hyhybt

    @Codswallop: Not death; once you pass out, you start breathing again automatically :)

    I’m not saying it would happen everywhere right away… but they’ll come around eventually. And in the meantime, making it a local choice would benefit those segments not run by unfriendly churches.

  • heybro


    Because gays are allowed to be in the Boy Scouts; gay Scouts are only denied leadership positions, that’s the issue.

  • Hyhybt

    @heybro: Really? It’s just that I’ve VERY consistently heard they’re not allowed. You have to be straight and theist.

    If I’m misinformed, well, good!

  • GreatGatsby2011

    @Hyhybt: You are correct. It clearly states in the BSA bylaws that openly gay people and atheists cannot participate in scouts either as a scout or scouter (aka scout leader). I was kicked out of my troop when I came out as an atheist back in the day (a few years before I came out as a homosexual).

    As to whether these bylaws are actually enforced at the local level in every troop, I can’t speak to that. But officially, gays and atheists are not allowed to participate in the BSA, child or adult.

  • Steve

    The reason why the great majority if BSA units are sponsored by Mormon, Catholic, and Methodist churches is simple — The SCHOOLS dropped their sponsorships. When I was a scout, the vast majority of scout troops were sponsored by SCHOOLS. They met at the school one evening a week, and left from the school to go camping. Once a year, in the fall, the school had an assembly where the troop recruited new members.

    BSA membership has been falling, steadily, for almost thirty years, even as the population has grown. When the schools stopped sponsoring units, they also stopped allowing the recruiting on-campus. If you cannot talk to the kids in school, you cannot recruit them to join your troop.

    Most parents of 10-year-old boys are, roughly, 30 years old. How do 30-year-old adults feel about gays? Most of them have gay friends. Most don’t care if a person is gay or straight. The ones that do care, mostly, are opposed to discrimination. And, they won’t join an organization that is dedicated to discrimination.

    Basically, BSA is utterly failing to fulfill its charter. The program is just NOT AVAILABLE to most boys.

    The only way to save the program for future generations of boys, is to ditch the discrimination. The Mormons won’t be happy. But the organization will survive, and it will start growing again.

  • B

    No. 10 · GreatGatsby2011 wrote, “As to whether these bylaws are actually enforced at the local level in every troop, I can’t speak to that. But officially, gays and atheists are not allowed to participate in the BSA, child or adult.”

    What probably occurs is that it is rare for a gay boy scout to be kicked out, primarily because, by the time a kid is ready to come out, he’s probably left that organization due to changing interests.

  • Riker

    @B: Or because the troop leaders have grown up with the kids since Cub Scouts, and become so close to them that they wouldn’t even consider kicking them out except for coming out as an atheist (most people in my area are only loosely religious, anyway) or gay.

    That, and they need the dues and fees etc to support the troop. Troops get pretty small into the teen years, and the more kids remain the cheaper things are, e.g. renting a campsite might cost $200, which split over four families is $50 each. Split 5 ways it is $40 each.

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