BSA to Allow Gay Scouts, But No LGTB Leaders
In a move some say will fracture the scouts across the country, the national young boys program has altered its policy to no longer ban gay youth, but LGBT people are still not allowed to serve in leadership roles. About 1,400 votes were counted, and 61% the National Boy Scouts of America Council agreed to this shift from their traditional position of allowing no gays into the organization.
One of the reason given for the policy change involved the lack of sexuality in Scouting – and there for its irrelevance in determining membership. “The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program,” said the BSA in a press release. “any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”
The move to allow gay youth to be included into scouts is being called a compromise over the larger issue of letting LGBT people in the group at all.
Activists have had mixed response to the half-mast policy change. “The Boy Scouts of America can do better,” said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality. Wahls reached a level of fame after a video of him explaining his same-parent family to legislators in Iowa back in 2011. He has since made bringing equality to the scouts his mission, creating Scouts for Equality. “We welcome the news that the ban on gay Scouts is history, but our work isn’t over until we honor the Scout Law by making this American institution open and affirming to all.”
The Human Rights campaign echoed Wahls message, saying the BSA had not gone far enough. “Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
Many groups and companies had come out against the BSA’s anti-LGBT policy. The Merck Foundation began pulling donation money back in December of last year. ” We cannot continue to provide support to an organization with a policy that is contrary to one of our core beliefs. We remain ready and willing to re-consider our funding position in the event that the BSA were to revise its policy.” said the drug company at the time of the announcement. Intel and UPS both have policies to not fund non-profits that discriminate against any population, and the BSA’s policy fell under that umbrella. Both the tech and shipping giant pulled their BSA donations in November of last year.
Update: We’ve gotten some questions about this claim and thought we’d clarify. Searching “LGBTQ” on whitehouse.gov yields the message as seen in the top image. The fact checking site Snopes has said the clearing of the website was announced earlier this week and it was made clear the information and sites from Obama’s administration would be [...]January 20, 2017
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