Boy Scouts of America leader calls ban on gay leaders unsustainable
The Boy Scouts of America opened their doors to gay scouts last year, but the youth group continues to ban gay men from leadership roles, but that may not last according to BSA President Robert Gates.
“The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” Gates said to a crowd of BSA leaders at a Scouts’ national annual meeting in Atlanta, GA.
“I remind you of the recent debates we have seen in places like Indiana and Arkansas over discrimination based on sexual orientation, not to mention the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer on gay marriage,” he said, according the AP. “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”
Gates said there would be no change to offical policy at the May meeting, but it could come in the future, and that local scout troops “could decide on their own whether to allow gays as adult volunteers and paid staff.”
The Scouts have come under mounting pressure ever since their announcement in early 2014. Former Federal Attorney General Eric Holder called the continued ban on gay leaders “a relic of an age of prejudice and insufficient understanding.”
Referencing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Holder said that “courageous lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals routinely put their lives on the line” in the U.S. armed forces, and that “if these men and women are fit for military service, then surely they are fit to mentor, to teach, and to serve as role models for the leaders of future generations.”
Walt Disney World, among other groups, cut funding or canceled events held annually by Scouting groups after outcries from pro-LGBTQ groups came pouring in.
“We recognize that many Scout Units have received financial support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and are sad to see it go,” wrote Central Florida Council Board President Robert Utsey, in a letter to local members.
“The National BSA Council has reached out to [Walt Disney World] to try to resolve the situation, however, according to WDW, their views do not currently align with the BSA and they are choosing to discontinue this level of support,” Utsey wrote.
Since 2012, at least seven major corporate sponsors of the Boy Scouts of America have ended their partnerships with the organization. These sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, UPS and now Walt Disney World.
“If you’re faith-based, it’s within your right to select the adult leaders who are going to uphold the tenets of your faith.”July 25, 2016
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