Boy Scouts national president, Robert Gates, today said the organization's long-standing ban on participation by openly gay adults is not sustainable.
Speaking at the national annual meeting in Atlanta, BSA President (and former Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama) Robert Gates stated, “the status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”
The status quo of which he spoke was the organization’s ban on participation by openly gay adults, one that has been increasingly under fire as state chapters of the organization have openly defied it. Just one month ago, the New York chapter hired openly gay Eagle scout Pascal Tessler.
In response to the discrepancy between national and chapter policies, Gates also said, “we can expect more councils to openly challenge the current policy.” He views potential court challenges as a fight that the organization would lose. The organization reversed its ban on openly gay boy scouts two years ago.
Will the Boy Scouts of America open up its ranks to the LGBT community? As one of the more high profile fights over the years for LGBT activists may be coming to a close, what does this portend for hiring in other national organizations that currently ban openly LGBT workers and volunteers?
Rabbi Sarah Hronsky, of Temple Beth Hillel in 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;
Matthew McReynolds, staff attorney at the Pacific Justice Institute