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Boy Scouts Look Set to End Ban on Gay Scouts But Not Gay Leaders

The Boy Scouts appear set to end their ban on gay scouts, Reuters reports:

BsaIf the vote is approved, "no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone," Deron Smith, the organization's spokesman, told Reuters.

Smith noted that the decision drew from three months of research, surveys and discussions and was "among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today."

The AP writes:

Under pressure over its longstanding ban on gays, the Boys Scouts of America is proposing to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders.

The Scouts announced Friday that it would submit this proposal to the roughly 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20.

The resolution must still be ratified by the organization's board in May.


TyrrellJennifer Tyrrell, lesbian Scout leader ousted as her 7 year-old son's den leader via letter on April 17, 2012, released this statement today:

"One year after sending a letter ousting me as my son's leader, the Boy Scouts are once again forcing me to look my children in the eyes and tell them that our family isn't good enough," said Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell. "My heart goes out to the young adults in Scouting who would be able to continue as scouts if this is passed, but then be thrown out when they reach the age to become leaders."

GLAAD added:

"Yet again, the Boy Scouts of America has failed its members, corporate sponsors, donors and the millions of Americans who agree that the time to end discrimination in Scouting is now," said Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD. "By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy. We're living in a culture where, until every parent and young person have the same opportunity to serve, the Boy Scouts will continue to see a decline in both membership and donations."

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  1. Well, I think it's understandable. I mean, we never let straight men work with girls, just to be safe. Except for every high school coach in the world.

    Posted by: RomanHans | Apr 19, 2013 1:13:59 PM

  2. Even though this may be a baby step in the right direction, it's still very insulting. BT: I wonder if this move is due in part to the group of the Explorers, the pro-gay version of the BSA.

    Posted by: | Apr 19, 2013 1:33:05 PM

  3. Yep. Making the anti-gay message even more explicit -- "hey kid, it's ok if you're a homo now, but when you're grown up, you're gonna be a disgusting pervert who can't be near children."

    What an amazing bullying message to send to the gay youth of America! That should make the suicide figures jump.

    Posted by: Buster | Apr 19, 2013 1:43:43 PM

  4. We may not like all of it, but this is still more than a "baby" step -- it's really quite a big, not at all easy -- and there's no turning back. If you want people to change, you have to give them credit for the change they are able to make. That's just science.

    Posted by: Jack | Apr 19, 2013 1:46:07 PM

  5. As Karl Frisch tweeted, "Can you think of another youth org that wouldn't welcome with open arms its former participants as adult volunteers?"
    (youthallies {dot} com)

    Posted by: Mike | Apr 19, 2013 1:49:09 PM

  6. So they did nothing, good job, keep ruining them everyone!

    Posted by: Fenrox | Apr 19, 2013 1:56:48 PM

  7. Yes, this is offensive, but it does represent an important admission that their policy of excluding gays is morally wrong and indefensible. When I was a scout, I frankly couldn't have cared less whether my fellow scouts or leaders were gay. No doubt many of them were, like me also gay. We didn't know the ban existed.

    Personally, I got a lot out of scouting, so I sincerely hope this partial modification of their ban is accepted by their voting members and their board. I'd like to see every boy (gay or not) have access to the scouting experience, so I applaud this incremental change. The exclusion of gay parents and former scouts as leaders is sad, old baggage that will undoubtedly be eliminated too, in time.

    Posted by: Joe in Ct | Apr 19, 2013 2:37:01 PM

  8. I think this is definite progress. Youngsters are much more easily damaged psychologically than adults, so I think removing the stigma for gay kids is way more urgent than letting in gay adult leaders. When the current crop of gay scouts reach adulthood, the idea of throwing them out will be seen to be as stupid as it is and the whole antique mindset will finally fade away.

    Posted by: Dave | Apr 19, 2013 2:46:04 PM

  9. I disagree, Joe in Ct. I don't want to see ANY boy or young man (but particularly one who is or might be gay) involved with an organization that espouses discrimination against people for their sexual orientation. You may not have known about the ban, but many others did and do. I don't doubt that scouting offers benefits to its members, but I suspect that a parent can find other places for their son to learn teamwork and a sense of community where "community" doesn't come with an asterisk. The Boy Scouts claim to teach morality, but they still only offer it up with a dark smear of bigotry and shame.

    Posted by: Buster | Apr 19, 2013 3:08:47 PM

  10. Younger parents and teens oppose the policy but the overwhelming majority of parents support the gay ban, based on the findings the BSA released on their "study" they released a few months back. They fished for negative responses and got them except on one thing---not banning a gay child from a Eagle Scout badge he earned.

    The findings also said that discriminating based on sexual orientation wasn't seen as OK but discriminating based on "behavior" was. So it's basically more of the same as long as we're sexless, we're OK attitude. Our orientation isn't the issue, it's the fact we have sex with the same sex.

    Has stigma truly been removed here? Most parents are still anti-gay in the Scouts. And the Scouts clearly don't feel homosexuality is really acceptable. The message has gone from being banned outright to you can join us as a second class citizen. It's gone from complete demonizing to a little bit less demonizing.

    We'll see if this petition is actually accepted by the voting members. There's still all the chance in the world the entire ban will remain in place.

    Posted by: Francis #1 | Apr 19, 2013 3:22:30 PM

  11. I'm so sick of this. If the BSA doesn't want gay members or leaders, then they shouldn't be forced or pressured to allow it. Why is this even still an issue? Didn't they go to court on this already...and didn't the court rule that – as a private organization – they have the right to exclude whoever they wanted to, based on whatever they wished? So silly. Fighting tooth and nail to be included in an organization that doesn't want you there seems a bit silly to me. That's like homosexuals demanding that they be welcomed in church (and I think that's coming next.) Move on.

    Posted by: LCR Jay | Apr 19, 2013 3:31:31 PM

  12. As a Log Cabin Republican, I know that what we need to do is respect differences of opinion. BSA doesn't want gay leaders, so we shouldn't force them to accept gays.

    Just like my family doesn't want a gay son so I respect their difference of opinion and stay hidden away so that I don't embarrass them.

    After all, there's no irony at all in my comments about wanting to be a part of a group that doesnt' want us, when I'm a Republican myself. Because that's different. Because one day the GOP might actually accept me. Not yet, that's for sure. But one day.

    Maybe then my family will welcome me back, but not if you liberal activist leftists force them.

    Posted by: LCR Jay | Apr 19, 2013 3:39:33 PM

  13. At its core, the Boy Scouts is a paramilitary organization. When it was founded, women had no place in the military. That policy has evolved over a century and several wars. BSA may be on the same evolutionary path with respect to gays, but their situation is probably closer to a slaveholding society saying OK, we will now stop enslaving the offspring of slaves, but we'll keep the ones we have. As far as the world has come on those issues, this is too little, too late.

    Posted by: Rich | Apr 19, 2013 3:40:17 PM

  14. Being impersonated with some bitter, cynical remark only suggests to me that my previous comment must have *really* gotten under the skin of the copycat to the point where they needed to lash out...AND...that they didn't have the words (or the nerve) to instead counter my comment with a real response.


    You know you've made an impression and officially "arrived" at Towleroad when you've pissed off someone to the point where they seek revenge by trying to be your very own "Mini-Me!" :P

    **luvin' it**

    Posted by: LCR Jay | Apr 19, 2013 4:04:01 PM

  15. Not loving it; my parents still having me for a son.

    But I'm gonna pretend that I really stuck it to you pro-Equality liberals, because that way I can pretend that my fellow republicans love and respect me. Of course, they don't.

    Which is why it's so funny that an anonymous Log Cabin Republican like myself made the comment about "Fighting tooth and nail to be included in an organization that doesn't want you there seems a bit silly to me."

    I remember when CPAC didn't want us, and how the GOP just reaffirmed their stance against gay marriage. But I refuse to acknowledge my own hypocrisy.

    Instead, I'll continue to swing right and hope that one day I can show up at my parent's house without my father drawing his shotgun and telling me to get my wussy gay heiney off of his porch.

    Yes. It's so stupid for gays to want to be included in an organization that doesn't want them. But that doesn't apply to us gay republicans. You liberals should take note that the GOP is making leaps and bounds and will one day almost tolerate our presence. So, such on THAT impersonator!!

    Posted by: LCR Jay | Apr 19, 2013 4:15:20 PM

  16. Did you also notice how I pretended that the BSA are a private organization despite the fact that they do indeed receive public funding?

    That's something we gay republicans do best - we ignore the facts that don't suit our talking points. We also like to pretend that it's the fault of liberals that our families wish they'd "gone all liberal" decades ago and just had that abortion, after all.

    Posted by: LCR Jay | Apr 19, 2013 4:17:52 PM

  17. Clearly whomever is impersonating me is very threatened by what I wrote. And I fail to see how there's any comparison to gays wanting to be in the scouts and gay men like me being Republicans. The GOP is not remotely anti-gay. That's just a pathetic liberal lie.

    **stil luvin' it**

    Posted by: LCR Jay | Apr 19, 2013 4:26:54 PM

  18. I must repeat.....F*ck the BSA. So now they say "You are good enough to be a scout but you will NEVER, EVER lead us because you are just not quite THAT good enough. Pigs, they are, ALL of them that think this is a acceptable policy offer.

    Posted by: ToThePoint | Apr 19, 2013 5:27:59 PM

  19. Let's just say this. If the scouts want to keep it straight, then so be it, but under no circumstances should they accept direct or indirect public funds to run their operations. If they want to keep it straight and their members and leaders want to keep it straight, then they must bear the cost to do so. That means no public funds, no tax exemptions and no public supported facilities - free rent is the same as receiving public funds. Ultimately, their moral "superiority" will lead to reduced membership and leadership and the organization will fail because humanity generally loves humanity.

    Posted by: ToThePoint | Apr 19, 2013 6:53:08 PM

  20. Too little, too late.

    Sadly, they will probably get away with tossing this insulting crumb.

    Posted by: AG | Apr 19, 2013 7:18:48 PM

  21. I don't blame the people here for feeling that this "halfway" policy is insulting. In a way it is. But there's another way to look at it. Slowly, change is happening. The scouts won't for long be able to maintain their opposition to gay scout leaders if they have gay kids in the troops. Young scouts of the future are certain to be even MORE liberal on gay rights because of this new policy. "Halfway" only makes the inconsistency seem even more absurd. So either gay scouts will have to be expelled, or gay scout masters allowed in. We know which one it will be. The only question is when it happens.

    Posted by: Mary | Apr 19, 2013 9:38:54 PM

  22. I don't get it. We know that every gay leader is above reproach.

    Posted by: GB | Apr 19, 2013 11:09:33 PM

  23. @ LCR Jay: "The GOP is not remotely anti-gay"

    You''re serious.

    I'll let someone else on here destroy that argument seeing as I don't have the patience to bother. Feel free to defend it too - I'd love to hear more...

    Posted by: Leo | Apr 20, 2013 2:53:31 AM

  24. It's clear they're trying to keep donations flowing, while still being able to discriminate. Pathetic attempt, and even more insulting than the initial ban. I hope no one takes the bait, and that they'll indeed lose even more by this complete BS.

    Posted by: Niebuhr | Apr 20, 2013 7:55:06 AM

  25. Gay scouts grow up to be gay adults. So what they are saying to gay youth is that you're allowed to be a scout but don't ever expect to grow up and become a leader, no matter how exceptional you turn out to be. Sort of damned before you start....

    Posted by: CAnaivePete | Apr 20, 2013 4:31:17 PM

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