Scouts delay gay policy decision

Statements and reactions from local and national leaders

by QNotes Staff  Staff Reports  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: February 6, 2013 in News

Meeting near Dallas, Texas, today, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board today decided to delay a decision on their national anti-gay membership and leadership policy.

Last week, the organization had announced it would consider rescinding the national ban and allowing local units and chartering organizations to set their own membership and leadership standards.

The Boy Scouts’ National Executive Board’s statement today:

For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing its youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.

After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.

To that end, the National Executive Board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the National Council will take action on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May 2013.

Statement from Inclusive Scouting Network, of which qnotes editor Matt Comer is a co-founder:

While it is disappointing the Boy Scouts of America decided not to take any action on their national anti-gay membership and leadership policy today, we are encouraged knowing that this discussion, the first and only time national BSA leaders have openly indicated they are ready to accept gay Scouts, will continue.

Today’s action by the BSA’s National Executive Board is not a “no;” instead, it is an opportunity for Scouts and Scouters across the country, from the local level to the national level, to continue to press for positive change. We are hopeful that this process will include Scouts and Scouters who have already been subjected to discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America, and we will work diligently to highlight voices of inclusion from local units and chartering organizations across the country in the lead up to May’s national council vote.

In their first edition of the Boy Scouts Handbook in 1911, the Boy Scouts promised that “every American boy shall have the opportunity of becoming a good scout.” It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to live up to the great American ideals and principles they have embodied for more than a century by saying, “We don’t discriminate and discrimination is not okay — period.”

Be sure to see this earlier statement from the Inclusive Scouting Network, as well.

Statement from GLAAD, which has been working closely on this issue with current and former Scouters for several months:

Statement from Human Rights Campaign.

See earlier coverage from qnotes, including our recent editorial and story this week regarding local BSA memo on policy changes.