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Boy Scouts 'Actively Considering' End to Ban on Gay Members, Leaders

The Boy Scouts are "actively considering" an end to their ban on gay members and leaders, NBC News reports:

BsaIf adopted by the organization’s board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial -- one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts.

“The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” according to Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ national organization.

Individual sponsors and parents “would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families,” Smith said.

The discussion of a potential change in policy is nearing its final stages, according to outside scouting supporters.

The changes could be announced as early as next week, according to NBC News, following their national board meeting.

The Boy Scouts official statement from BSA spokesperson Deron Smith:

For more than 100 years, Scouting's focus has been on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

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.

The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs.

Said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick in response to the announcement: "The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong. Scouting is a valuable institution and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect."

Added Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality: "This would be an incredible step forward in the right direction. We look forward to working with BSA Councils and chartering organizations across the country to end the exclusion of our gay brothers in Scouting, as well as the gay and lesbian leaders who serve the organizations so well."

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  1. Doesn't matter - they could change the policy tomorrow. The Boy Scouts of America are done. They destroyed themselves with their homophobic policies. Any company or corporation that continues to fund them will be publicly shamed and humiliated for doing so.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Jan 28, 2013 1:24:39 PM

  2. "scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs" WHICH MEANS THEY WILL STILL BE ALLOWED TO DISCRIMINATE AND BE HATEFUL ONLY ON A AS NEEDS BASIS...LOAD OF CRAP!

    Posted by: Rev. Joseph Shore-Goss | Jan 28, 2013 1:29:15 PM

  3. Atheists need not apply nor feel welcome. Nice sense of "honor".

    Posted by: David R. | Jan 28, 2013 1:35:40 PM

  4. @OS2GUY I agree. The national Boy Scouts are so stupid. They could have just let it slide and local chapters would have gay scouts and leaders , evolving incrementally, and no one would have noticed... but they clamped down with intolerance and hate, as reactionary bigots tend to, and *shocker* it blew up in their faces.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Jan 28, 2013 1:42:01 PM

  5. It would be awesome if this happened. Once my son is old enough to be a Cub Scout, I would love to enroll him. Of course I would never do so if the organization remains based on hatred and bigotry.

    Posted by: DB | Jan 28, 2013 1:44:08 PM

  6. OS2GUY - nice thought, but honestly, I don't think the outrage over this issue has been nearly as big as it should be. The Boy Scouts are doing fine. They will continue to do fine. And that sucks.

    Posted by: Robert | Jan 28, 2013 1:51:59 PM

  7. So there went from reaffirming their ban to seriously considering getting rid of seven months. Damn, they must really have missed that money from Merck, Intel and UPS.

    Posted by: KT | Jan 28, 2013 1:55:35 PM

  8. OS2GUY - I think you're wrong. The BSA is going to change, we know it now. and by doing so they will save themselves for a more accepting future. We see this happening everywhere in the Western world today. Huge organizations are changing, mostly to a sigh of relief, forgetfulness is swift, and then we move on. The alternative is moribund abandonment, irrelevance and...the flat line.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jan 28, 2013 1:56:14 PM

  9. The BSA can change all they want - they can run national ads declaring their love of gay people but the damage is done. Thousands of parents will NEVER allow their sons to join the group, including this parent. Look what they did (and continue to do) to Ryan Andresen, the Eagle Scout who devoted his life to the Boy Scouts - and the BSA worked long and hard to destroy the kid. How do you forgive that?

    The BSA is done.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Jan 28, 2013 2:03:25 PM

  10. Considering that the organization was founded by a pedophile (Baden-Powell) to begin with, I think this whole thing is a joke.

    Posted by: Tessie Tura | Jan 28, 2013 2:12:16 PM

  11. Wait, wasn't the BSA actively considering ending the ban last year, only to reaffirm the ban like two days later?

    Posted by: KT | Jan 28, 2013 2:12:37 PM

  12. YAY! I was just thinking how sad it is that if I had a little boy I wouldn't be able to enlist him in the Scouts.

    Boy Scouts was really fun. Love making pinewood derby cars.

    Posted by: David in NYC | Jan 28, 2013 2:17:57 PM

  13. The national board of the Boy Scouts of America has been bigotry in action for far too long. Only the most sweeping reforms built upon the full inclusion of ALL people of good character will now be excepted. Anything else will quite rightly be rejected by both scouts and sponsors as too little too late.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 28, 2013 3:07:27 PM

  14. We'll see.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Jan 28, 2013 3:12:07 PM

  15. Bother. accepted not excepted

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 28, 2013 3:25:48 PM

  16. Two-class membership: separate but unequal. In addition, how about the larger groupings of scouts than the local chapter? Will we have to have only people acceptable to all the local chapter involved?

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 28, 2013 3:49:52 PM

  17. BSA finally realized that they can't keep afloat without money, and the close-minded bigots that donate $10 aren't cutting it. They need to get more people to join, and they really need to get their hands on that sweet rich Liberal money. Steven Spielberg used to be one of their largest donors until he cut them off over their anti-gay policy. As usual, greed trumps hate.

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Jan 28, 2013 4:09:59 PM

  18. Who cares anymore? what sane boy would wants to hangout with a bunch of haters? I would not.

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 28, 2013 4:41:30 PM

  19. People will remember for a very long time. I remember the days when Amnesty International refused to help anyone who was imprisoned because of their sexual orientation. They changed that policy about 30 years ago, but I still won't do anything to help Amnesty. And I never will.

    Posted by: Linda | Jan 28, 2013 5:02:05 PM

  20. Perfect. Let them open the door.

    Posted by: Jess | Jan 28, 2013 5:19:05 PM

  21. They're still bigoted against atheists and girls. I don't care what they think of me as a gay man if they're still treating other people this way.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 28, 2013 5:47:53 PM

  22. A- THE BSA BOARD CAME TO THE HATEFUL RULING VIA MORMON AND CATHOLIC MEMBERS -- now it seems they did not quite get away with it.

    B- NOW, THEY ARE USING THE MORMON CHURCH'S CURRENT TACTICS -- "let groups in liberal areas (where discrimination is unpopular) be looser, but let there be discrimination where we can get away with it."

    These groups wanted safe environments to indoctrinate boys in their way of thinking.
    The mormon leaders and the pope just have NO understanding of the 21st Century

    Posted by: Bob | Jan 28, 2013 6:46:55 PM

  23. The headline for this post should have been:

    Too little, too late.

    Posted by: Anon | Jan 28, 2013 7:25:02 PM

  24. The new policy makes sense (i.e., has a rational basis) if you assume the goal is to keep the membership as high as possible. The bad publicity they are getting is probably turning into a noticeable downturn in membership in liberal areas, but if the BSA bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in general, they'll risk losing members from socially conservative areas.

    The new policy, if adopted, is simply an attempt to have one's cake and eat it too. If they are behaving rationally and you can deduce what the goal they are trying to reach is, you can use that information to figure out the best way to push them in the direction you want them to go. So, a discussion of what the BSA hope to achieve is a useful one to have.

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 28, 2013 7:44:57 PM

  25. I cannot figure out why some of you are not happy and thrilled about this breakthrough. The scouts are still a huge organization. This will be one of the largest LGBT rights victories to date. Not putting it equal to marrige eqauality but short of the catholic church changing its policy this is about as big a group as there is. The boy scouts are a national "traditionally conservative" organization that is changing its policy not because a few board members decided they needed too (they decided not to just last year) but because the grass roots of the organization led by groups like Scouts for Equality demanded it. the next step would be a complete non discrimination clause but this is a huge step.

    Posted by: Nick | Jan 28, 2013 9:09:30 PM

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