The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest private youth organizations, is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.
If adopted by the organization’s board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial -- one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts.
“The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” according to Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ national organization.
Individual sponsors and parents “would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families,” Smith said.
The discussion of a potential change in policy is nearing its final stages, according to outside scouting supporters. If approved, the change could be announced as early as next week, after the BSA's national board holds a regularly scheduled meeting.
Well this is excellent news, though I think it would be much better if the BSA were to adopt a non-discrimination policy nationally.
However considering that I just reported yesterday about a Maryland troop having to remove a statement favoring diversity from their website, this quick turnaround is rather startling, and hopefully indicative of more positive changes to come.
You know there really ARE some admirable things about the Boy Scouts, such as teaching self reliance, getting kids out into nature, and teaching them problem solving skills that really can come in quite handy.
I would like to see them return to their roots and be an organization that took pride in helping young boys become men, rather than one that teaches discrimination or attempts to indoctrinate them into religious cults. Perhaps that day is coming soon.