Boy Scouts of America looks toward equality, considers lifting ban11:21 pm - 01/30/2013
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 1:28pm by Brendan Davis, Digital Content Manager at GLAAD
News broke today that the Boy Scouts of America is "actively considering" an end to the policy that bans gay scouts and leaders. The decision follows a nearly yearlong campaign by GLAAD and Scouts for Equality, as well as Change.org petitions signed by more than 1.2 million people calling for an end to the BSA's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.
BSA spokesperson Deron Smith released the following statement announcing the potential policy change:
For more than 100 years, Scouting's focus has been on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.
Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.
The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs.
NBC News reports that "the change could be announced as early as next week, after the BSA's national board holds a regularly scheduled meeting."
"The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "Scouting is a valuable institution and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect."
"This would be an incredible step forward in the right direction," said Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality. "We look forward to working with BSA Councils and chartering organizations across the country to end the exclusion of our gay brothers in Scouting, as well as the gay and lesbian leaders who serve the organizations so well."
"More than 1 million people have joined Change.org campaigns urging the Boy Scouts of America to end their national anti-gay policy, and today, those signers are celebrating a huge victory for people-powered change," said Mark Anthony Dingbaum, Senior Campaign Manager at Change.org. "Jennifer Tyrrell, Zach Wahls, and Ryan Andresen have proven that long-standing institutions of discrimination are no match for cutting-edge online tools and powerful storytelling."
"The pulse of equality is strong in America, and today it beats a bit faster with news that the Boy Scouts may finally put an end to its long history of discrimination," said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. "Our nation and its leaders respect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, and it's time the Boy Scouts echo those values."
More of the article, which is essentially some recapping of different occurrences with the BSA and various troops, can be read at the source. Also, go here to show support via a call, an email, or a post on Twitter/Facebook! If you want it on your tumblr, boom, I got you. I'm so happy that all of the media attention and pressure has finally made a dent with them and that they do go forward & change their policy. C'mon, BSA!