Boy Scouts Panel Approves Gay Scout Leaders

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by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  July 14, 2015   

"They can put the uniform back on"

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NEW YORK, July 14, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Boy Scouts of America has just moved one step closer to allowing adult homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders.

Approved by the executive committee Friday and announced Monday, the BSA unanimously adopted the resolution, basing its decision on "rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state and local levels."

"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," said the BSA in a statement.

The resolution will not become official Scout policy until July 27 when the organization's National Executive Board meets to ratify it.

"What this means is that gay adults who want to get involved, and there are lots of them, they can put the uniform back on, and they can serve openly and honestly in an inclusive unit that will accept them," said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and executive director of Scouts for Equality. "I couldn't be happier about that."

Wahls also expressed deep confidence that the National Executive Board would approve the decision, saying it would be "unprecedented" for them not to do so.

Though a significant change, the resolution did not make it mandatory that all local units accept homosexual scout leaders, allowing room for religious organizations (70 percent of Scout units are sponsored by churches) to select leaders according to their beliefs.

"This change allows Scouting's members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families," said the BSA. "This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own."

Zach Wahls, while appreciative of the shift, did not appreciate the exemptions for religious organizations.

"This is a step in the right direction, but we're still really concerned that there are still going to be groups that are going to be hostile to adult leaders," Wahls said.

The Boy Scouts of America have been traversing down this road for some time. In 2013, the BSA voted to allow openly homosexual youth to become scout members while maintaining a ban on adults. That stance, however, took a dramatic hit back in May when Robert Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, publicly advised the organization to change its policy, saying, "We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be." Gates also warned the BSA that if it didn't change its policy, then it would face an endless barrage of legal trouble that could "end us as a national movement."

 

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