The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced April 19 that it is considering a proposal that would partially lift its long-time ban on openly homosexual participants, by allowing youth who self-identify as gay to become Boy Scouts, while continuing to bar homosexual Scout leaders. The estimated 1,400 voting members of the BSA's National Council will decide on the proposed policy change during the week of May 20 at a national meeting in Texas, the organization said.
The relevant portion of the BSA proposal, which has already been approved by the group's executive committee, declares that no youth “may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” Baptist Press News noted that the latest policy proposal “differs significantly from a proposal that was discussed in February that would have allowed openly gay leaders and youth to join. That policy would have made it a 'local option,' whereby each sponsoring organization would decide the policy. Under the new proposal, there is a national standard and no local option.”
In July 2012, following a two-year, closed-door review, the BSA announced that it would continue with its nearly century-old policy of excluding homosexuals both from leadership and membership in its ranks. That decision, along with the high-profile ouster of at least one openly homosexual Scout leader, prompted an aggressive campaign by homosexual activists to force the BSA to change its position, with a number of long-time corporate sponsors announcing they would pull their funding of the Boy Scouts. With a continuing barrage of criticism and pressure from homosexual activists and their supporters, the resolve that prompted the BSA leadership to affirm the policy against homosexuality has slipped over the past several months.
Curiously, the resolution for the policy change continues to affirm the mission of the BSA to help boys understand and embrace their duty to be “morally straight.” The resolution notes that “the values set forth in the Scout Oath and Law are fundamental to the BSA and central to teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes.” It also emphasizes that “any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”
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Photo of Boy Scouts: AP Images