US Boy Scouts to review ban on gay leaders ‘by October’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Boy Scouts of America will review a rule that bans gay adult volunteers – with a decision due by October.

Following a long discussion, in 2014 the BSA changed its policy to allow openly gay youth members, but maintained a ban on “open or avowed” gay adult staff or volunteers.

However, last week at a Scouts meeting, national president Robert Gates suggested the ban was “unsustainable”, and could lead to costly court battles.

Mr Gates has since said the organisation will be reviewing the rule – and unlike for the previous change, which took many years to agree, the decision will be made soon.

He told NPR: “We haven’t made that decision yet, but what I said was that I believed our present position was unsustainable and that we are going to need to move promptly to re-examine it.

“I think that we will have a decision not later than October, but so far there has been no change.

“We need to reach out to our sponsoring institutions and talk with them about the potential change. We need to talk with donors and others so there’s a process to be gone through here, but I think that it’s inevitable that we have to change the policy and that’s what I recommended, and we’ll see as I say not later than October if the rest of the movement is in agreement with the position.

“But I think that change is the right thing for our movement.”

He added that units associated with local churches would still be able to refuse gay leaders, as they have Constitutional protections.

He said: “There would be a First Amendment protection for their right to do so, but from the National Council’s standpoint gays would be permitted in units that want to have them.”