It's been a very long time coming -- but I didn't think it would happen this soon. The Boy Scouts of America may end its ban on gay members and leaders. The Board is in talks right now about ending the ban. If they vote in favor of the new policy, BSA would end the ban on a national level. Local chapters would still have the option of adopting the new policy or not.
BSA could make an announcement about the policy change as early as next week, following the national board's next scheduled meeting. Just this July the BSA affirmed its ban on gay kids joining and gay adults leading. So what brought about this sudden change? Demand from local chapters urging the national organization to reconsider. "We're a grassroots organization," an official told NBC. "This is a response to what's happening at the local level."
Wow, what an inspiring moment in history! Scouting families all over the country stood together and demanded this change. And they're being heard. I'm sure losing major funding from sponsors has also motivated the board, but I don't want to get too cynical about this. I'm just so glad BSA is joining the rest of the nation in changing its attitude toward gay people.
We knew it would happen eventually. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, a BSA board member and next in line to become its national chairman, had publicly stated that he would fight to change the ban. So did fellow BSA board member, Ernst & Young CEO James Turley. But America's boys are young now -- and they need these changes to happen today, not later.
This is a big deal for all of us who grew up with scouting or have kids in scouts. My brothers got their Eagles and my dad was a leader for a while. My son's father was an Eagle Scout, too -- as a closeted gay kid. I just can't imagine how different his life would have been if there had been a boys' organization that recognized that everyone is different, and that you can be gay and make a valuable contribution to your community at the same time.
This policy change could change a lot of boys' lives. I hope the board does decide to end the ban. A nation holds its breath. We're crossing our fingers. We're hoping that the BSA will stand on the right side of history and truly support and serve families all over our country.
Do you feel like your local troops are ready for this change?
Image via Boy Scouts of America