Boy Scouts Consider Gay Scouts — but Want to Keep Out Gay Leaders

J.K. Trotter
Boy Scouts Consider Gay Scouts — but Want to Keep Out Gay Leaders

The Boy Scouts could be close to reversing its ban on gay scouts — but not gay leaders. Two months after promising to consider allowing the full participation of openly gay people in the 103 year-old youth organization, the Boy Scouts of American announced on Friday afternoon that the organization has drafted a resolution to allow openly gay troops to participate in Scouting activities, and will be put to a vote before the Scout's National Council, a group of 1,400 individuals who meet annually at the Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving, Texas.

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But the resolution contains a significant caveat: it doesn't extend to openly gay Scout leaders, positions usually occupied by adult volunteers who are trained to help carry out Scout activities. The reason for this omission is unclear. A spokesman for the Scouts, one of America's most popular youth organizations, told Reuters that the resolution came after three months of deliberation and research — under heavy public scrutiny — about of the "most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today." But it doesn't seem to address the bevy of incidents in which demonstrably competent scout leaders were removed from their positions for simply being gay — a status that the Boy Scouts are now poised to accept among its youth members but not those who lead them.

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The resolution is something of progress, especially for those removed against their will from the Scouts. But its conspicuous omission could renew the massive controversy that befell the Boy Scouts in early February after internal documents detailing deliberations to address (and possibly end) the Scouts' gay ban were leaked to the media, drawing rebuke from Scouts, former and current, who were opposed to dropping the ban on gay people.