The Boy Scouts of America has finally gotten with the times and ended their ban on gay adult scout leaders… sorta. The 17-member executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America unanimously voted to end its ban on gay adult members and will instead let individual scout units set their own policy on the issue.
According to the pro-LGBT organization Scouts for Equality, “This resolution must now go to a vote by the National Executive Board, the Boy Scouts’ governing body, which is set for July 27th. If ratified… the change will be effective immediately.” However, while this moves the national organization 10 steps forward on LGBT rights, the decision to let individual troops decide whether or not to admit gay adults is also three steps back.
In 2000, the BSA won a Supreme Court case upholding their rights to ban gay members — a victory that tarnished their image. Then in 2013, the BSA lifted their ban on openly gay youth scouts; the change took effect in January 2014, but they continued to exclude openly gay adult leaders above the age of 18 — something that individual troops more or less ignored. In a speech on May 21, 2015, BSA President Robert Gates, declared that the group’s ban on gay adult troop leaders was “no longer sustainable.”
The issue that still remains with their ban on gay adults is that it wasn’t completely lifted; it just brought the heat away from the executive committee and put it onto individual troops. Technically, if the majority of a unit still is uncomfortable with the sexual orientation of a potential adult leader, that leader can still be denied based only on their sexual orientation.
(featured image via @boyscouts)