Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boy Scouts Propose To Lift Ban On Gay Members, But Still Bar Gay Leaders

On Friday, the National Executive Committee of the Boy Scouts of America sent a letter to the approximately 1400 voting members of its National Council forwarding a lengthy Resolution (full text) that provides in part:
No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.
The Resolution will be voted on at the Annual Meeting in May. Under the proposal, the Scouts will maintain its current policy that bars from adult leadership positions "individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA." The Boy Scouts has also posted a Memberships Standards Executive Summary and a Frequently Asked Questions document on the controversial proposal that emerged after an extensive study of attitudes. (Seer prior related posting.) The New York Times reports that the new proposal has drawn criticism from conservative Christian groups who accuse the Scouts of caving in to political pressure. Meanwhile gay rights groups criticized the decision to maintain the ban on homosexual scout leaders, saying it perpetuates stereotypes about gay men. Churches, many (but not all) of which consider homosexual conduct to be sinful, sponsor many Boy Scout troops around the country. (See prior posting.)