Boy Scouts of America board will vote on whether to end ban on gay members

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The Boy Scouts of America could soon lift its ban on allowing gay members, volunteers and staff, as its board will vote next week on a resolution which would effectively do so.

NBC News reported on Monday that BSA national leaders are “actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay Scouts or Scout leaders.”

The new policy “would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay Scouts.”

In July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

The director of public relations for the BSA’s Great Salt Lake Council, Kay Godfrey, said: “A resolution will be put forth by the national board a week from Wednesday… We won’t know until then how it will affect Scouting as we’ve known it.”

A BSA spokesman, Deron Smith, said in an interview with USA Today: “The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,

“Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” he continued.

This could mean that different scout troops could have different policies on gay members. Smith said parents “would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families.”

Sources within the BSA did not give an indication of whether or not the resolution may pass, but suggested that there was a split on the issue.

The BSA has come under pressure from religious organisations which have put pressure on it not to change its policy.
The Boy Scouts have, however, lost funding from several large corporate donors over the policy, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000), Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September, and the Merck Foundation in December. 

Two weeks ago, gay teenager Ryan Andresen received his final decision to say that he had been denied the highest Boy Scouts honour, the Eagle Scout badge.

He had previously thought that the the national Boy Scouts of America organisation would approve his application because he had completed all of the requirements, and received a recommendation for approval from a review board at his local council, and had a 460,000 strong petition in his favour.

After appearing as a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show, the 18-year-old Boy Scout was awarded a $20,000 (£12,476) scholarship towards his college fees. Mr Andresen was also recognised by Assembly Speaker, John Perez, who is openly gay himself, at the California state Assembly

Last week, a synagogue in California became the latest in a list of religious groups to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s policy, described as “damaging”.

A father of two from Brooklyn, New York, recently started his own Boy Scouts troop, inclusive of gay members, and girls, to allow his son to be a member without having to accept the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.


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