Boy Scouts Change Membership Guidelines to Allow Homosexuals
(CNSNews.com) – The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have reversed their longstanding membership guidelines to allow homosexuals to join the organization.
In an email to CNSNews.com, the BSA public affairs office said the vote on the resolution to “remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone” was passed with 61.44 percent in favor and 38.56 percent opposed.
“For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training,” a statement released to the media says.
The statement includes a ban on all sex in scouting activities and says that the voting body did not consider whether to allow homosexuals in leadership positions in the organization.
“The resolution 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,” the statement says. “A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place.”
Reaction to the vote-results announcement was immediate, including a statement from John Stemberg, founder of OnMyHonor.net, a coalition of members of the BSA, including parents, Scoutmasters and Eagle Scouts.
“It is with great sadness and deep disappointment that we recognize on this day that the most influential youth program in America has turned a tragic corner,” Stemberg said. “The vote today to allow open and avowed homosexuality into Scouting will completely transform it into an unprincipled and risky proposition for parents.”
“It is truly a sad day for Scouting,” Stemberg said.
But gay rights activists praised the decision and are already pushing for a lift on the ban of openly gay adults in leadership positions.
“This vote marks a monumental step forward for the Boy Scouts of America,” Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in a statement. “We are thrilled for the gay youth who will no longer be turned away from scouting simply because of who they are.”
“This milestone has been years in the making, and we thank all those who have fought so hard to end this grave injustice against our young people,” Carey said.
“Boy Scouts' leadership should stop clinging to a policy of exclusion and scrap the ban, once and for all. It’s long past time for a fully inclusive Boy Scouts of America,” Carey said.“This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units,” the BSA statement said.