The Boy Scouts of America have taken a giant step forward. The organization’s national executive board met and discussed a major issue — allowing gay scout leaders. The result? They’ve officially ended their decades-long ban on gay scout leaders.
The Boy Scouts of America voted on July 29 to end their long ban on gay scout leaders. The decision was not a close call, it was reportedly approved by 79 percent of the national executive board. They concluded that the policy of excluding gay adults “was no longer legally defensible.” What an amazing thing!
Even though the national ban is now gone, local scouting units are allowed to keep the ability to reject gay applicants for leadership positions if hiring them would violate the unit’s religious beliefs. “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 a statement from the Scouts’ leadership, according to NBC News.
“For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us,” former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Scouting’s current president, told the press. “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.”
It was only two years ago that gay youths have been allowed in the Boy Scouts, so there is still a lot of work to be done. “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 told the press after the historic vote.
He went on to say, “But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision.”
HollywoodLifers — what do you think of the ruling? Sound off below!
— Brittany King