The Boy Scouts of America could end its no-gays policy as soon as next week.
In a statement released yesterday, the BSA announced it's reviewing its policy and deciding whether to let individual organizations decide whether to accept gays as Scout unit leaders.
What do you think of this news? Does it affect how you view the Boy Scouts?
From the BSA statement:
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.
This seems like a smart move to me -- since a sizable number of Boy Scout units are run by churches and religious organizations, the new policy would allow individual organizations to decide whether they want to place restrictions on leadership. The BSA would have no say one way or the other. Bam. Everybody's happy.
Er ... not quite.
Southern Baptist leaders are angry about the proposed changes and say that if the new policy is approved, they might ask their churches to support other boys' groups. This is no empty threat, since Southern Baptist churches are one of the biggest sponsors of the BSA.
Meanwhile, gay rights leaders are understandably happy about the news. "The pulse of equality is strong in America," Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said via the Associated Press, "and today it beats a bit faster with news that the Boy Scouts may finally put an end to its long history of discrimination."
To me, the BSA's proposed changes sound entirely reasonable, whether you're gay, straight, Christian, atheist, or anything else. Back off, BSA, and let each Boy Scout group decide for itself what it wants its membership to look like. If this policy is approved, Southern Baptists could keep their Boy Scout units the way they are, while other units could open membership to gay fathers, for example, and gay boys. In my opinion, no man or boy should ever be excluded from learning to tie knots and survive in the wilderness. If the conservatives are right, this stuff might come in handy down the road, you know?
What do you think about the BSA's proposed changes?