Boy Scouts May Finally Let Gay Kids Join (Fingers Crossed!)

This Just In 10

boy scouts americaIt'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

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nonmember avatar Shandeigh

I don't know how I feel about this... on one hand it seems unfair but on the other... I'm not sure I would want my son going on a scouts camping trip with gay boys anymore than I would want my daughter going on a girl scouts camping trip with straight boys. Other than making a Gay Scouts or making Scouts all intergender... I'm not sure what the answer is.

Flori... Floridamom96

Oh, my word. I am speechless.

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

I'm speechless that this is even an issue. Irish scouts are intergender, and carry out all activities as such. It shocks me that being gay is an issue.

PonyC... PonyChaser

You have to remember, this will be a change on the national level only... local units will be able to make the decision on an individual (unit) basis. So if the troop is sponsored by the Catholic Church, it is likely that they will maintain the line on "no homosexuals". I do not know this for a fact, but I did read that this was the way they were leaning.

jalaz77 jalaz77

What is sad is I never knew they were banned, is there an interview question asking if they are gay or straight. This shouldn't even be an issue! And has anyone EVER been hit on by a gay man or woman?? Being in a gay bar doesn't count, you are in a gay bar expect to be hit on. People act like this is a disease. If your son or daughter goes to camp straight, comes back gay, guess what?? They were gay all along!!!

nonmember avatar Samantha

It is a sad issue. May as well ban kids with allergies or diabetes.. Bc being gay is THAT much.. No MORE a part of WHO YOU ARE than those kinds of issues. If they have glasses.. LETS BAN THEM. If they need a hearing aid or are completely deaf.. LETS BAN THEM. If they are god damn different, why would we want them to learn the same things OUR PRECIOUS BOYS DO? It is truely sickening how ridiculous people are. I say FUCK THE BOY SCOUTS, having an awesome dad or even mom to camp & fish with, is much better than learning to be exclusive, closed minded, and stuck up.

Flori... Floridamom96

The ignorance and intolerance shown for those who disagree with living a homosexual lifestyle is mind boggling. You all apply your opinions of us to our motives and then demand we answer for your perceptions. And your perceptions are wrong. You would know that if you just asked, but you have no intellectual honesty at all.

Flori... Floridamom96

I do not fear homosexuals. I do not fear that my child will become gay because he associates with someone who is gay. I object to homosexuality because I believe it to be immoral. I'm not ignorant, bigoted, nor do I treat homosexuals with anything less than kindness and dignity. The BSA is an organization that strives to exemplify the utmost in moral character. That is why they have a policy keeping those who engage in immoral behavior out of their organization.

And, no, jalaz, they do not ask, neither children nor adults. The only way they have of knowing one's sexual orientation is if the person makes it known to them intentionally.

PonyC... PonyChaser

It pains me to disagree with you, Florida... we have so many other views that mesh. But... I've been in the Scouts a long time, in lots of different adult positions (I'm a girl. Never got to be a Boy Scout) and I've seen a LOT of immoral behavior that is just accepted and passed over.

Adultery. I've known a couple of leaders who met their second spouse through Scouts while still married to their first spouse. Nobody asked them to leave because they were cheating. Alcoholics. But nobody asked them to leave because they spent every weekend getting drunk in the local bar. Gambling. Gossiping. Good LORD, the gossiping!! But nobody asks them to leave because they "bore false witness". Unless that behavior leads to a felony conviction, nobody says anything about it.

PonyC... PonyChaser

I submit that Scouts could be just what a young gay male needs. When a kid realizes that he's gay, he is absolutely going to feel isolated, fearful, alone. He may consider hurting himself. He might not be confident enough to speak to his parents, and even if he is he may not want to cause them emotional distress. This leads to more isolation. But now this kid realizes that he is a part of an organization that supports him. He has friends who support him, other adults that he won't hurt if he talks to them about it. They might be trusted enough to listen, for him to bounce ideas for talking with his parents off of. If he goes to his priest/pastor, he may be severely judged. But maybe, just maybe, he won't get that judgment from a Scout leader.

Further, a gay leader may be celibate. Many single parents are (either by choice or circumstance). So that means that he/she is no longer exhibiting immoral behavior.

Most churches welcome gays into their congregations. Why would they then say that those same people, who are fit to sit in their pews, cannot join an organization that they sponsor?

There will be issues - most obviously on Boy Scout (not Cub Scout) campouts. But I suspect that those issues will iron themselves out. The bottom line for me is... we are all flawed in some way. None of us can say that we live an absolutely pristine life, morally speaking. How can we stand in judgment of one group of people when we, ourselves, are flawed?


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