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Wayne Parker

Boy Scouts Delay Decision on Gay Members

By February 8, 2013

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Boy Scouts of AmericaFor virtually all of its existence as an organization, the Boy Scouts of America have banned openly gay Scouts and Scouters.  This policy was based on the Scout Oath and Law that called for Scouts to do their "Duty to God" and to be "morally straight."  The Scouting movement held firm in light of growing pressure from many fronts and recently announced a recommendation to its executive board that the BSA lift its opposition as an institution to gay Scouts and Scouters and allow local units and sponsoring institutions to determine based on their own standards whether gay Scouts and Scouters could participate in their local units.  The executive council was set to consider that recommendation this week,  but the final decision has been delayed until the May Executive Council meeting to allow more input from members and sponsors.

The move by the BSA staff away from the ban on gay Scouts and Scouters has deepened the rift within the Scouting movement.  While some historic financial sponsors of Scouting have pulled away based on the exclusion of gay Scouts and Scouters, many of their sponsoring institutions are now questioning their support of Scouting if the ban is lifted.  It will be interesting to watch many of the religious institutions who oppose homosexual behavior and sponsor Scout units to see if Scouting continues as a part of their program for boys and young men.

NPR has opined that the move was largely based on the loss of large financial contributions from sponsors who opposed the movement's position on gay Scouts and Scouters, but other more traditional sponsors such as churches and conservative groups could break from Scouting if the ban is lifted.

It will be interesting to watch this process unfold.  Whichever way the Executive Board votes in May, it will likely change the face of the Boy Scouts of America for years to come.

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February 9, 2013 at 8:54 pm
(1) Kamuel says:

It would certainly be interesting if the BSA leadership were to really take the phrase “mentally awake” in the Scout Oath seriously. I would love to see them lead the way in acknowledging the complexity of this issue instead of buckling under to the pressure of political correctness. We in Western society are just beginning to come to grips with the issue of homosexuality after centuries of dysfunction, and gay people are still too tangled up in the old traditional cultural form themselves to be much help. It’s still early days. It would be truly pathetic if the grown-ups were so unwilling to face up to this thorny problem that they would make it go away by pretending to their children that it’s a question already answered.

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