The Boy Scouts of America may lift its ban on gay members and leaders as early as next week. The BSA reaffirmed its prohibition of homosexuals in July 2012 and has since come under fire for what many consider to be outdated and discriminatory policies. The Scout’s national board will discuss reforms to the ban next week as part of what they say has been an ongoing dialogue.
The end of the exclusion of gay Scouts and leaders will likely be opposed by some religious groups and more conservative troops. BSA spokesperson Deron Smith says the new policy would reflect a change at the national level – while the Boy Scout institution would allow Scouts and troop leaders of any sexual orientation, individual troops would retain their autonomy and the power to “accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.” There is no timeline yet for the potential lift of the ban.
Why is the BSA deciding to do this now?What could be the effect of giving local Boy Scout troops more independence? Will the change in policy really change much if local troops are still allowed to exclude gay members and leaders? Is the BSA’s possible progressive shift the latest in a sweeping societal sea change in attitudes towards gay people? Could this change your opinion about the Boy Scouts or your decision to involve your child?
Rabbi Sarah Hronsky, Temple Beth Hillel – Valley Village; Temple Beth Hillel sponsors two units of the Los Angeles branch of Boy Scouts of America, Cub Scout Pack 311 and Boy Scout Troop 36
Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow with the Family Research Council (FRC), a non-profit organization that aims to advance faith, family and freedom in public policy and to promote culture from a Christian worldview