Boy Scouts Consider Ending Ban on Gay Members

Did not see this coming:

The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest private youth organizations, is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.

If adopted by the organization’s board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial — one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts.

I don’t pay much attention to the Boy Scouts anymore, so I really had no inkling that this was being considered. I’m wondering if it has any connection to the internal documents about sexual abuse that were released late last year. NYT:

Details of decades of sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America, and what child welfare experts say was a corrosive culture of secrecy that compounded the damage, were cast into full public view for the first time on Thursday with the release of thousands of pages of documents describing abuse accusations across the country. [...]

Officials with the Boy Scouts fought in the courts for years to prevent the release of the documents — more than 15,000 pages detailing accusations of sexual abuse against 1,247 scout leaders between 1965 and 1985, with thousands of victims involved, perhaps many thousands — contending that fear of breached confidentiality could inhibit victims from reporting other instances of abuse.

Any ideas?

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  • drax

    This is interesting, but mostly because just six months ago the BSA reaffirmed their gay ban after doing a two year internal review of the policy.

    I wonder what happened since last July to undo that? And more importantly can it be done for atheists as well?

    • Richard H

      I think this probably answers your question…

  • Brian Westley

    Probably due to corporations finally ending their financial support.

  • Steven

    It’s worth noting that they are not allowing gay members, just that they are leaving it up to the individual troops. Most of those individual troops will still ban gay members.

    • Kenneth

      They will, for a while, but the writing is clearly on the wall. A number of regional councils have been fighting the anti-gay national mandate for years, and BSA has become absolutely toxic in the eyes of corporate sponsors and United Way groups, as well as liberal religious congregations, who host a number of troops.

  • Eric D Red

    It won’t change much, but it’s a start. They leave it up to each “sponsoring organization” to decide. Most are churches, and most of those are Mormon.

  • Nox

    Gotta agree with JT on this. This isn’t about changing a bad policy. It’s about avoiding responsibility for an unpopular policy.

    Still could be a positive change. Any troops which would choose on their own to discriminate would just be doing what the parent organization is currently telling them to do. And many currently under those orders would choose less discriminatory policies if their charter allowed it.

  • Igor

    “What do we want?”
    “Gay Scout Leaders!”
    “When do we want them?”