The Boy Scouts of America has long been a punching bag for the gay rights movement. For refusing to accept openly gay members, the organization has been accused of teaching hate, and its stance has cost it the support of entertainers like Carly Rae Jepsen and Train and sponsors like Chipotle and the Merck Foundation. Today, though, the group’s National Council voted to lift that ban, although gay adults are still barred from leadership positions.
The move has received praise as a step in the right direction from many quarters, including Washington and the entertainment industry.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts added that the resolution, effective January 1, 2014, 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.” Whatever the reason, the continued ban on gay scout leaders is justification to slam the organization as usual.
While the policy change is the result of a vote within the organization, there’s no doubt that external pressure weighed heavily on Boy Scout leadership, and the effect on membership numbers remains to be seen. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas issued a brief statement expressing his disappointment.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association suggests that today’s vote is the death of the BSA.