Boy Scouts of America Will Now Allow Gay Youth, but Gay Leaders and Atheists Are Still Banned

The Boy Scouts of America just approved a resolution allowing gay youths to be part of the organization.


Yep, once you turn 18, gay scouts are kicked right back out. And if you’re an open atheist, you’re still never allowed to be a scout in the first place.

The American Humanist Association was quick to respond to the announcement:

“The Boy Scouts of America still supports an untenable, unreasonable and unnecessary discriminatory policy by excluding gay leaders and staff members,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “If the Boy Scouts are truly a values-based organization, bigotry can’t be part of the program.”

Speckhardt added, “In addition to ending all anti-gay policies, the Boy Scouts should also open their doors to those without a religious affiliation. Their national policy of discrimination against humanists and atheists, like the anti-gay policy, needlessly shuts out millions of Americans.”

It’s really a bittersweet victory. What’s great is that gay scouts who have had to hide an important part of their identities in order to remain in their troops no longer have to pretend to be people they’re not. Unfortunately, this half-hearted attempt to modernize the organization by welcoming gay scouts — but only until they turn 18 — shows just how little progress has been made within the BSA.

Even now, in their moment of glory when they celebrate being inclusive and welcoming, the silent truth is that the BSA is just as bigoted as ever.

We must keep the pressure on them and let them know it’s unacceptable to treat atheists and gay adults like second-class citizens. This particular battle has been won, but we’re not done fighting yet.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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