In a long overdue move, the Boy Scouts of America’s Executive Committee has voted unanimously to end their policy of discrimination regarding gay troop leaders, but only at the national level. The move still has to be ratified by the National Executive Board.
The Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee unanimously approved allowing gay adults to serve as leaders, officials said on Monday, in a major step toward dismantling a policy that has caused deep rifts in the 105-year-old organization.
The group’s National Executive Board will meet to ratify the resolution on July 27, the Boy Scouts said in a statement.
“This resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders,” it said.
The resolution approved by the Executive Committee on Friday follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June to allow same-sex marriage nationwide and a call in May from the Boy Scouts president, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said the ban on gay leadership needed to change.
The Boy Scouts said in the statement the move reflected “the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state and local levels.”
It’s only a partial victory, though. Local Boy Scout groups can still maintain their discriminatory policies, and since a huge number of troops are sponsored by churches, especially Mormon churches, it’s a fair bet that most of them will do so. It also does nothing about the BSA’s official policy of discrimination against atheists.