The Boy Scouts of America are no longer against gay rights.
The board of governors voted today to allow gay boys or men to be Boy Scout leaders. The organization’s national executive board established that the policy of excluding gay adults “was no longer legally defensible,” and it was approved by 79 percent of the board.
However, the local scouting units may reject gay applicants if hiring them would disrupt the unit’s religious beliefs.
“Today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual adults to work and volunteer is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement after the vote. “But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision.”
“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered by organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” said the Scouts’ leader.
Robert Gates, the Former Defense Secretary and Scouting’s current president, said the following in a statement, “For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us. Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good in a community and in the lives of its youth members.”
After decades of resisting this change, Gates advocated for it in May and now it is finally a reality.
“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”