Today, the Boy Scouts of America announced that the National Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution allowing gay adults to serve as employees and volunteers. A vote by the National Executive Board, the Boy Scouts’ governing body, is set for July 27th.
Based on the BSA’s documents, the change would:
- Eliminate the BSA’s across the board ban on openly gay or bisexual adults in scouting.
- Allow each individual troop or unit to determine its own policy regarding the eligibility of openly gay or bisexual scoutmasters or other adult leaders.
- Prohibit regional governing councils or non-Troop entities such as boy scouts camps from discriminating against employees and volunteers based on their sexual orientation.
- Allow previously removed leaders to reapply for their positions.
If ratified on Monday, July 27, the change will be effective immediately.
Following the announcement, Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and the Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, issued the following statement:
“Today’s announcement hopefully marks the beginning of the end of the Boy Scouts of America’s decades-old ban on gay leaders and parents like my two moms. In two weeks, the BSA’s national executive board will vote to ratify a resolution that has already been unanimously adopted by their executive committee.
“For decades, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has stood as a towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia in one of America’s most important and recognizable civic organizations. While this policy change is not perfect—BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults—it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement.
“The BSA has explicitly cited the work of Scouts for Equality members Pascal Tessier, an openly gay Eagle Scout working at a Boy Scouts summer camp in New York state, Yasmin Cassini, a lesbian woman from Colorado who was denied employment on the basis of her sexual orientation, and Brian Peffly, an openly gay Eagle Scout who until recently served as an assistant Scoutmaster in central Ohio. I could not be more proud of, or grateful for, the courage, strength, and dedication to the values of Scouting as demonstrated by Pascal, Yasmin, and Brian.”
The relevant portions of proposed resolution reads as follows (emphasis added). The full resolution can be downloaded here:
Regarding Employees and Non-unit Volunteers
Adult leaders in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America must (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle, and (c) demonstrate at all times behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and that is consistent with Scouting’s values and codes of conduct.
No adult applicant for registration as an employee or non-unit-serving volunteer, who otherwise meets the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America, may be denied registration on the basis of sexual orientation.
Regarding Religiously Affiliated Troops and Units
The Boy Scouts of America affirms the right of each chartering organization to reach its own religious and moral conclusions about the specific meaning and application of these values. The Boy Scouts of America further affirms the right of each chartering organization to select adult leaders who support those conclusions in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.
From the BSA’s frequently asked questions:
Can a gay adult be a Scoutmaster or unit leader?
Yes. If selected by the chartered organization, an otherwise qualified and eligible gay adult is eligible to serve as a unit leader.