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Monday, January 28, 2013

Boy Scouts to Allow Gay Members?

Posted by on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Sounds like change is coming to Boy Scouts of America:

As early as next week, the Boy Scouts of America may announce it will allow gay Scouts and troop leaders, a spokesman for the group has told USA TODAY.

If this policy shift is approved by the national board meeting next week, it will be a sharp reversal of the Scouts' decades' old national policy banning homosexuals.

UPDATE 12:04 PM: If you'd like to send the Boy Scouts a very polite message encouraging the reversal of this ban, it looks like the best way to do so is via this form.


Comments (22) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1

Mind you, they always had gay members.

One of my brothers is gay, and he was a scout, as were all the boys in my family.

About time they joined the 21st Century.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2013 at 12:05 PM · Report this
trust but verify.

how will they enforce this at the local level? Will gay kids have to out themselves to confront the powerful in their communities and worlds?
Posted by trust but verify on January 28, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
Pick1 3
While grassroots is a great line about reversal, the bigger concern was probably losing those big donations with all the 0's on them. Like the ones from UPS and Intel.

Or maybe I'm just a cynic. Either way, the change would be good.
Posted by Pick1 on January 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Pick1 4
@2 They stated quite clearly that this is just the national level. They will let any local scout troop discriminate if that's what they see fit.
Posted by Pick1 on January 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 5
@4 so Utah will still pretend?
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2013 at 12:24 PM · Report this
@4' still a big deal. Even if som branches will stay homophobic, it will be nice to take the handcuffs off the chapters that want to welcome gays but can't b/c of national rules.
Posted by Fr0zt on January 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 7
It's sad that it's taking the Boy Scouts a century to catch up with the Girl Scouts.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on January 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Pick1 8
@5 But of course.
Posted by Pick1 on January 28, 2013 at 12:31 PM · Report this
Atheists next.
Posted by butterw on January 28, 2013 at 12:33 PM · Report this
We're winning. Thanks for the link to comment, Paul. I sent them a note:
As a former Cub Scout of the Chief Seattle Council I am delighted to read today that BSA may shortly announce it is lifting its ban on gay scouts and scouting leaders. Long overdue. Hooray! I will happily begin making BSA part of my charity giving scheme once this has been done.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
Thanks for the link, Paul. As a former scout, I sent them a very polite message.

Posted by Clayton on January 28, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
That's good news, but still leaves the Boy Scouts in the shit list, as far as I'm concerned. Even if they instituted a full change (instead of leaving it up to individual troops) the scouts would remain officially bigoted. They wouldn't be homophobic, but in excluding atheists they remain a bigoted organization that should recieve no support. It would be clear enough if they excluded Jews, or Muslims, that they were disgustingly bigoted. Excluding atheists is no different.
Posted by Lynx on January 28, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
rob! 13
While acknowledging that many members of the Mormon church are coming around on LGBT issues (and official support of an initiative like California's Proposition 8 would not likely be repeated), this may help lessen the dominance of LDS congregations in sponsoring scouting:
The LDS Church is the largest single sponsor of Scouting units with over 30,000 units nationwide, which comprise about 13% of BSA's youth members. (Wikipedia)
Posted by rob! on January 28, 2013 at 1:17 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 14
I was actually just about to chime in and point out that the LDS church more or less runs scouting these days, so if they change this policy it will be a fairly huge step.

That this conversation is even *happening* within the BSA is a pretty big deal. The good guys are winning, bit by bit...
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on January 28, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this

One of my brothers is gay, and he was a scout, as were all the boys in my family.

Am I the only one who read that wrong the first time?
Posted by six shooter on January 28, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
@15, you read it right - it's that he wrote it wrong.
Posted by gloomy gus on January 28, 2013 at 1:42 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 17
@13 this will absolutely push out a lot of LDS groups. This, I hate to say, isn't a bad thing. Scouting should be for all, not just some. I say that as a former Life Scout that bailed a short bit prior to Eagle.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on January 28, 2013 at 1:45 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 18
@ 12, one battle at a time.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 28, 2013 at 2:03 PM · Report this
12 - That might become the next issue. With gay members and leaders banned, I'm pretty sure there are about 0 atheists who actually WANT to join the Scouts, so that particular discrimination doesn't really seem like it'd come up right now.
Posted by redemma on January 28, 2013 at 2:48 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 20
This is actually inherently unfair unless you make the Scouts coed.

The reason is that the only sexual relation possible now among Boy Scouts will be homosexual whereas there will be no opportunity for heterosexuals. So this is socialization of one preference but exclusion of the other.

Unless the Girl and Boy Scouts merge, which I favor, then heterosexual socialization is discriminated against.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on January 28, 2013 at 2:49 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
@15 or I wrote it so that it was intentionally ambiguous.

@20 there are some groups like that in Canada. Can't remember the name of what they were called, offhand.
Posted by Will in Seattle on January 28, 2013 at 3:37 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 22
These decisions have always been made at the local level. The higher-ups do not come to individual troops and do gay checks.

This is why scouting, while officially banning gays, has always had gays involved. Most local troops do not want to discriminate, and so they don't.

Still an important step though.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on January 29, 2013 at 4:46 AM · Report this

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