Dallas, Texas – The Boy Scouts of America announced a proposal today to lift its ban on openly homosexual members, while retaining its existing policy barring openly homosexual leaders.
The proposal, which will be voted on by approximately 1,400 scouting members next month in Texas, is stated to come as the result of a survey that was issued to an estimated 1 million scout affiliates in February. Approximately 200,000 responded.
“While perspectives and opinions vary significantly, parents, adults in the Scouting community and teens alike tend to agree that youth should not be denied the benefits of Scouting,” the organization outlined in a statement Friday, adding, “The proposed 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 in the membership policy specific to youth only would be consistent with the religious beliefs of the BSA’s major chartered organizations,” it asserted.
Reaction to the proposal has been mixed.
“By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy,” Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD, told reporters.
“I agree with banning male adults from supervising young boys just like I do heterosexual men who probably are not pedophiles from supervising overnight stuff with young girls. No different,” stated one commenter. “I’m glad they are allowing gay children to be in Scouts. … I am a devout follower of Christ and believe our children are to be protected and loved and not used or rejected for any reason.”
“If this passes the membership will decline to the point BSA will fold within 2 years. If you want an organization that panders to less than 2% of the population that will be the participation level and unless there is a liberal democrat in the WH to subsidize it there is no way it will survive,” wrote another concerned citizen. Just as I believe all parents have a right to discern what the sexual orientation of the people their child is sleeping (camping) with, if the only way I can prevent my son from sleeping with a gay kid is to not let him belong to the scouts, so be it.”
As previously reported, the headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America announced in January that it was considering the revocation of its ban on openly homosexual leaders and members.
“The BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation,” outlined spokesperson Deron Smith in a written statement. “The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver scouting to determine how to address this issue.”
The following month, the organization advised that it would postpone its decision until May.
“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review,” it wrote in a written statement.
However, some Christian organizations have been concerned about which way the Scouts might lean in making their decision.
“When one standard is removed, another takes its place. If the Boy Scouts’ policy is changed, it is just a matter of time before BSA will have a merit badge for homosexual activism,” Alex Mason, policy analyst for the Family Policy Network in Forest, Virginia, told Christian News Network. “Part of the Scout Oath is a commitment to remaining ‘morally straight.’ God’s definition of ‘morally straight’ prohibits homosexuality and all sexual relations outside of one-man, one-woman marriage. God, through His Word, has given humans a clear picture of the boundaries within which He intended human sexuality to function.”
A vote on the matter is set for May 20th during the National Council in Dallas.