Boy Scouts of America votes to ease ban on gay members


National Commissioner Tico Perez: "This resolution dealt with youth, we have not changed our adult membership standards"

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The Boy Scouts of America organisation has voted to welcome openly gay scouts, ending a divisive ban.

But a ban on openly gay adult scout leaders will remain in place.

More than 60% of the national council, with 1,400 voting members, supported the change at a meeting in Texas.

The campaign over the ban pitted conservatives, especially religious groups that sponsor local scouting chapters, against liberals opposed to what they deem outdated discrimination.

The change is effective on 1 January.

The resolution repealing the 22-year-old ban "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 Boy Scouts of America said in a statement.

"While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting."

The issue was put to the organisation's national board in February, but a decision was delayed until the larger council could decide.

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Young Boy Scout members protest against admitting gay members in Grapevine, Texas 23 May 2013 Young scouts were called upon to protest against the inclusion of openly gay boys

"Today's vote is a significant victory for gay youth across the nation and a clear indication that the Boy Scouts ban on gay adult leaders will also inevitably end," said Rich Ferraro, spokesman for gay rights group Glaad.

But Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee, said he was saddened by the development.

"Homosexual behavior is incompatible with the principles enshrined in the Scout oath and Scout law," he said.

In the organisation's 1911 Scouts oath, members pledge: "On my honor I will do my best…. to keep myself physically strong, mentally alert and morally straight."

Some within the scouting movement were concerned conservative and religious groups would withdraw financial support if the ban were lifted.

But many liberal groups also hoped the ban on gay adult leaders would go, finding it absurd that openly gay teenage scouts would have to leave the organisation upon reaching adulthood.

The Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1910, has about 2.6 million young members, down from a peak of around 4 million, and about 1 million adult leaders and volunteers.

As recently as July 2012, the Boy Scouts concluded that its long-standing ban on gay scouts was "the best policy for the organisation".

In 2000, the organisation went to the US Supreme Court, saying its policy of "morally straight" conduct fell within its right to freedom of expression.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 769.

    Land of the Free is just a blood-boilingly ridiculous name for the most manipulated and deluded populace probably on earth- ok maybe tribalisms worse elsewhere but for a nation teaming with info tech (multiple news sources) and wealth to be so out of touch is completely pathetic

  • Comment number 768.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 767.

    754 "BTW, did you know a British soldier got hacked to death in Woolwich yesterday by Islamic extremeists?"

    Yes we know, BBC has reported on Woolwich VERY extensively.
    This issue is tied to gay discrimination (universal/global issue not just US).
    Believe it or not BBC can report on more than one story at once, who would've the thought it? The future is here :P

  • Comment number 766.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 765.

    Don't know much about the boy scouts of America. But I will say that if they're completely privately funded then they should be able to make up whatever discriminatory rules they want, on the other hand if they get government funding then they shouldn't be able to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality, religion or political views e.t.c.

  • rate this

    Comment number 764.

    14 Minutes ago
    Why not have a separate gay division of the Boy Scouts? Then no one gets offended.


    That would only reafirm the bigots of the Gay Pride mob in their claims of superiority over the rest of us.

  • Comment number 763.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 762.

    Quite frankly, I’m appalled that they still have a ban on Gay leaders.

    Glad to see that UK Scouting has a far more enlightened outlook.

  • rate this

    Comment number 761.

    @754 do you have some strange form of selective blindness that has caused you to miss all the articles on the BBC about that horrendous attack and the fact it has been their main news story since it happened?

  • rate this

    Comment number 760.

    As I read the comments posted here I have to smile at them as one would at squabbling children.

    As a practising bisexual (I still haven't got the hang of it yet) I find the arguments for or against homosexuality or heterosexuality just views from opposing extremes

    So, why is it you do not hear of bisexuals up in arms?

    I come to the conclusion that we are by nature more accepting of others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 759.

    753.alan garfield
    Thought you had to be "gay" to join.

    No - just intelligent enough to want to learn new skills, enjoy yourself.and respect other peopl. So I guess that rules you out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 758.

    675. centromere

    An NNSHB survey in 2010 gave a figure of 7.5% reporting being gay, but with the caveat that many folk will not admit being gay. I used my 'up to 10%' phrase knowing that the 7.5% figure is probably a bit lower than reality.

    If you prefer 7.5% go ahead. My point was that, that many people would be feel left out if gays were regarded as not OK. What is 7.5% of the US population?

  • rate this

    Comment number 757.

    746. Cynical Dave
    @743. Sorry, got the wrong end of the stick.
    No problem it is an emotive subject.

  • rate this

    Comment number 756.


    MR.TRUCULENT refers the BBC to a speech by Mr.Obama made, and is on video today. "Let me finish, this is part of free speech; is you being able to speak; but you listening, and me being able to speak, alright". Or in this case MR.TRUCULENTS posting on HYS.


  • rate this

    Comment number 755.

    the real question should not be 'how can we make people accept homosexuality as normal' but 'why should millions of people abandon their faith to suit me'.

    If there are any scouts who don't like this because someone elses sexuality affects their ability to remain members of the scouting movement they can always... Um... leave with their faith intact?

  • Comment number 754.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 753.

    Thought you had to be "gay" to join.

  • rate this

    Comment number 752.

    I think that ones sexuality is mostly irrelevant. I accept that some people are homophobic but, I find that in the world I live in most people are either ambivalent or totally disinterested.

    The observation I make, evident in some of the posts here, is that some gay people seem to be deliberately confrontational in the way they express their views. Better to ignore cretins and keep your dignity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 751.

    More subject matter for any The Village People tribute acts, I suppose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 750.

    457.Matt K
    Ghettoliving - I neither support or condem homosexuality. I simply accept that it exists and that people do not have a choice as to how they are born and who they love. It's not about promoting anyhting it's about dealing in reality.

    Snap I agree. So why does it have to be such an issue. Gay scouts, Gay pride, Gay bars etc. Can't we all just live without labels?


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