Boy Scouts of America Delegates Vote to Lift Ban On Openly Gay Scouts [Updated]

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The Boy Scouts of America have formally voted to lift the longstanding ban on openly gay scouts, according to a tweet from a delegate at the meeting where the vote took place. Openly gay scoutmasters and other paid adult staff, on the other hand, are still not welcome in the organization.

Some 1,400 delegates from the Scouts' National Council met at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine this week to consider the proposal to allow gay scouts. They faced intense lobbying efforts and demonstrations from both LGBT-rights organizations and terrified homophobes. The resolution reportedly passed with 61 percent of the vote.

See also:
- The Boy Scouts of America Announces That it Will Admit Gay Members
- Gov. Rick Perry: Standing Against Gays in Boy Scouts Akin to Sam Houston's Refusal to Align with the Confederacy

Resource Center of Dallas, a community center focused on LGBT issues, has released a statement from CEO Cece Cox:

Let's be clear: the Boy Scouts of America's decision today to finally lift its ban on openly gay Scouts is a half-measure. It is a step forward from their previous position, but not a full solution. It tells gay Scouts that they can take part in their troops, but once they reach adulthood, they will be denied the ability to lead. It also excludes open LGBT adult leadership in the Scouts, thereby maintaining a system of "less-than" status. Scouting should not rest and pat itself on the back for only lifting the ban on gay Scouts; they should take the next step and lift it for adult leadership as well.

6:15 p.m.: Here's the full official statement from the BSA

For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization's long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting's mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change.

Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting's history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America's National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.

This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.

The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.

While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens. America's youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.

Update, 9:15 p.m.: And here's the inevitable statement from Governor Rick Perry.

"The Boys Scouts of America has been built upon the values of faith and family for more than 100 years and today's decision contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness. While I will always cherish my time as a scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision."


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30 comments
John1073
John1073

The upside-- Texas drought might end from the flow of tears of the religious right and their poster boy in the closet Rick Perry.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Everything has changed.

Nothing has changed.

So, Good.

Now everybody can just forget about it and get back to Scouting or whatever it was they were doing before this little kerfuffle popped up.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

so many homophobic people showing their stripes, its pathetic really.  Have these people ever met or known someone that is gay, do they have a family member that is gay?  Not one gay person that I know is running around trying to turn little boys or other men gay.  

manpanties
manpanties

fine.  now what about the secret rape files?

Americano
Americano

Step one of killing the Boy Scouts, check. 

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

It was the right decision at the moment. It was long overdue.

Has anyone else here been a Boy Scout? How involved were you? 

allow me to show you my skins on the wall concerning this matter. Eagle Scout, ten year member and might return to contribute back to the program. The BSA has taken large hits over the last decade or so. They ran this question all the way to the SCOTUS and it was ruled in their favor. The right of free association. They chose to surrender that stance. No longer will they exclude a boy or refuse to honor him for his accomplishments because of his sexual orientation. Yes, there will be members that get mad and leave. There will be sponsors that refuse to allow a troop to meet. Mark it down. And then somebody else will sponsor them instead. In the long run this makes them stronger. Consider this, when the scouts first made this decision to openly exclude gay members the United Way stopped contributing. That was a serious chunk of change. It didn't stop there. Ten years ago and in the last decade contributions suffered because of this. It was and has been bad publicity. In mercenary terms it hurt the bottom line. Independent of the ethical questions of excluding a portion of society they were isolating themselves from money available to them. 

As a past member, I applaud this decision. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

When a boy passes through puberty, he needs the Scouts.  Life is tough enough as it is during that phase.  It was the right decision.

farfallealfredo
farfallealfredo

So much for GOD and Country and God and Family...they've thrown all of that into the toilet to please a small minority.

Sad to see the end of the Boy Scouts, they used to be a wholesome group to teach boys to be men, not sissies.

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

Trying to please everyone, they pleased no one?

Or in other words, WTF?!

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps

Give it three years. Once the first 18 year old Eagle Scout of today comes back at about 21 and says I still want to be a part, and challenges the ruling with what the F I was good enough for you then but not now?? Then they might take another look. Nevermind the 1000's that they've already successfully had and didn't know it. it's going to take someone from this moment forward to pursue and challenge.

Darren Crone
Darren Crone

...once they deem a gay leader is acceptable I will lift my ban on buying their popcorn.

Steve
Steve

@ScottsMerkin No eight year olds.  I'd also be put off by an openly straight 8-year-old, swaggering around like Larry from Three's Company.


These are kids.  This is an adult issue being forced upon kids, further eroding Childhood.   They already deal with terrorism, porn everywhere, and a Daddy lost his job.   Now we're forcing them to understand gender identity before they have pubic hair?



Chuck_Schick
Chuck_Schick

@cactusflinthead I'm an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow Vigil member. I applaud this decision and hope it will be extended to adult leaders and volunteers.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@cactusflinthead

My family pretty much stayed broke and generally migrant during those years, but my parents always plugged my brother and me into the local Cub Scouts then Boy Scouts from Florida to Arkansas, to Texas, Arizona and California.  Sisters went to the Girl Scouts.  The leadership was uniform.  Nobody thought about sex during those years. It just wasn’t paramount.  In the early years hell, I didn't even like girls.  I only tolerated sisters. 

A credo.  It shaped me.  

Today, such a maneuver by parents would be called a dumping.  Free child care and maybe it was part of the formula however, I benefited.  

It is extremely important that “At Risk” kids be afforded the opportunity to join.  Because if they do not think the Scouts are for them, they will join some other crowd. 

And that includes the illegal kids, however defined.

Dallasphotog
Dallasphotog

@farfallealfredo So, you're saying that including a gay scout into a troop will turn everyone into a bunch of sisies?  You're a sad, sad man.  


RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@farfallealfredo Oh No!  The God I worship, The God I believe to have created the entire universe, Heaven and Hell, Angels and Demons.  The God I believe to have had a hand in guiding all of human history, to include the Crusades, the Inquisition, the systematic exterminations of indigenous American people, World War I and II (all of which were done or justified using God's name) is finished.  He will never be able to recover from the devastation of the Boy Scouts admitting, after all these years, that some of their members are gay, and allowing those members to proudly represent Scouting.

Please.  God will be just fine.  Certain preachers, churches and 'christians' do more damage to God, Country and Family than gay Boy Scouts could ever hope to do.

DMZ3
DMZ3

@farfallealfredo The Girl Scouts have allowed openly lesbian members for ... well as long as I think they've been around. They're doing fine.

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

I stand corrected.  The BSA announcement states that the ban on gay adult troop leaders was not up for consideration.  So I guess there's a reason for the disparate treatment of gay scouts and gay leaders.

John1073
John1073

They already learned about gender indentity before this new policy. What do you think young boys forced to stay in a tent together in the wilderness do in their spare time? 

Americano
Americano

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz

The Military involves adults.  The Boy Scouts involve kids.  There is a difference.  Many parents will think very carefully about letting their kids become involved with scouting now.  

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@crimjunkie No, you can't operate a cheerleader school. Nor a Girl Scout Troop.

It is both the appearance of impropriety and social distrust - no matter your pristine thoughts - that society will not trust you with minors, if your stated sexuality is heterosexual. 

You can't be trusted with the kids, even if you can.

Americano
Americano

@crimjunkie @Americano I wouldn't want my 10-12 yr old son exposed to any sexual behavior or talk, straight or gay if they were camping with 17-18 yr old boys.  They have their whole adult life for that.  There are people that disagree with this, and they might think twice about it.  I know the "tolerant" left will call them homophobes, but they feel how they feel, just like gay people do.

crimjunkie
crimjunkie

@Americano Why will parents think very carefully about letting their kids become involved with scouting now?

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Americano @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Why will they think carefully about it more so now than before.  What cub scout even knows what a gay person is?  good to see you want to instill your homophobic views on your youngster

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