For over 20 years the Boy Scouts of America’s policy has prohibited openly homosexual scouts from gaining membership into their organization.
At the annual Boy Scouts of America meeting in Grapevine, Texas, 1,400 Nation Council members voted on the policy that would allow openly homosexual boys into the scouts. The policy change won with 61 percent of the vote to allow openly gay youths to join.
The new policy for the Boy Scouts of America states, “no youth may be denied membership in Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” it will take into affect January 1, 2014.
The new policy change was a bittersweet victory considering that the ban on homosexual adult troop leaders continues.
There was some opposition to the policy change.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, had a petition signed by 18,724 individuals,11,795 were from current or former Scouting families and even former Scouts themselves, to try to prevent any changes to the Boy Scouts of America policy regarding homosexuals.
With such efforts from organizations, the Boy Scouts of America feared that they would lose both members and more importantly, sponsorship by lifting the bans.
Taking into consideration that the Boy Scouts’ main sponsors are religious groups who typically frown upon the LGBT community, it is a pleasant surprise that The Mormon Church, one of the Boy Scouts biggest sponsors, will continue to support the organization.
According to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ website, “Sexual orientation has not previously been—and is not now—a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saint Scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest.”
Fortunately the mutual interest in providing guidance and teaching skills to boys remains a priority for those associated with the Boy Scouts organization.
But the organization still continues to discriminate when it comes to homosexual troop leaders, the current policy for the adult leaders wasn’t even taken into consideration at the annual meeting.
Bill Hodges, the Fitchburg Troop 41 Scoutmaster says, “Sexuality and sexual conduct have never been part of the Scouting experience,” Hodges thinks that no scout leader, regardless of sexual orientation, should have their “sexuality on display.”
At the meeting, the organization failed to address what will happen to all the openly gay boy scouts after they turn 18, will these scouts be thrown out of the organization?
The policy basically comes with an expiration date. Once the openly homosexual boys turn 18 they will be kicked out of the organization unless any new changes are made to the policy regarding homosexual adult members.
The Boy Scouts of America will be experiencing more changes and will have to deal with homosexual boy scouts who will want to eventually become scout leaders.
I’m sure there have been homosexual boys, and men, within the Boy Scouts for years but were most likely not open about their sexuality.
Society has began to move forward in its acceptance to homosexuals, giving people the courage to be able to be open about their sexuality.