Friday, May 24, 2013

Boy Scouts Approve Membership For Gays

The Boy Scouts of America announced that its National Council has approved a Membership Standards Resolution removing the restriction on gays becoming scout members. However the ban on gays serving as scout leaders remains.  Yesterday's BSA press release said:
Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting's history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America's National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.
According to AP, some 61% of the members of the National Council who cast a ballot voted in favor of the Resolution. In a Points of Clarification memo, the Scouts say:
Some have asserted that the proposed change for youth runs counter to values of and raises concerns among Scouting's religious chartered organizations. We are unaware of any major religious chartered organization that believes a youth member simply stating he or she is attracted to the same sex, but not engaging in sexual activity, should make him or her unwelcome in their congregation.
In a statement issued last month, the Mormon Church-- the largest sponsor of scout troops in the country-- indicated its approval of the Scouts' new approach. But other denominations are split on the issue. (See prior posting.)  Southern Baptist leaders have expressed strong opposition to the change. Scout membership standards still require scouts to "subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God)."