The Boy Scouts of America have just announced they have officially ended the ban on openly gay youth participating in the program. In a written release, the BSA reaffirmed that the worldwide youth organization is dedicated to all young men, regardless of sexual orientation.
“Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote.”
Last month, the LDS (Mormon) Church released an official comment supporting the then-expected policy change, which will forbid scouting troops from denying membership to young men just because they are gay.
As emphasized in the BSA’s statement, sexual conduct is strictly forbidden, whether with member of the same or opposite sex. The current ban on gay adults participation will remain in effect, which is drawing the ire of groups who say the ban on gay adults means that a gay youth who participates in the scouting program will be immediately barred from the organization as soon as they turn 18.
“Today’s national decision by the leadership of BSA, while a step in the right direction, leaves a void along the path of our young peoples journey to healthy and happy adulthood,” says Valerie Larabee, the executive director of the Utah Pride Center. “As well, it continues to perpetuate a message of discrimination and confusion, where neither should exist. We believe that excluding gay adults from scout leadership creates harm and sustains refutable stereotypes that times will be hard for gay adults as they are treated like second-class citizens ”