The executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America has unanimously approved a resolution that would end the organization’s blanket ban on gay adult leaders and let individual Scout units set their own policy on the long-divisive issue. Units sponsored by churches opposed to the change could maintain the ban if they choose.
In a statement Monday, the BSA said the resolution was approved by the 17-member executive committee on Friday, and would become official policy immediately if ratified by the organization’s 80-member National Executive Board at a meeting on July 27.
The committee action follows an emphatic speech in May by the organization’s president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, declaring that the long-standing ban on participation by openly gay adults was no longer sustainable. He and other BSA leaders said the ban was likely to be the target of lawsuits that the Scouts were apt to lose.
In 2013, after bitter internal debate, the BSA decided to allow openly gay youth as scouts, but not gay adults as leaders.
Under the new resolution, local scout units would be able to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation — a stance that several scout councils have already adopted in defiance of the official national policy.
“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” the BSA statement said. “This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”
See here for the previous update. I was never a Boy Scout and honestly don’t really care very much about them, but I’m always glad to see an organization make progress. Took ’em long enough, but better late than never.