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especially religious groups that sponsor local scouting chapters, against liberals opposed to what they deem outdated discrimination.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
    +13

    Comment number 809.

    @778.bedbug97
    "Men spending time around young boys is always a bit creepy."

    What?? Really? Yeah all those men that held raise their sons, or teach kids to play football or other sports, male paediatricians or God forbid - those that teach primary school. That's really creepy.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 808.

    Good to see another organisation coming out of the dark ages.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 807.

    Scouts of america statement: "....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," OK... so how will conduct and activities of "openly gay" scouts differ from those for "straight" scouts and why announce their sexuality and distinguish them from other scouts? Got some new games in mind?

  • Comment number 806.

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

  • Comment number 805.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 804.

    Does anyone here know if the Boy Scouts of America are publicly or privately funded?
    I would have thought that if they're publicly funded they couldn't discriminate against race, religion, political views or sexuality e.t.c.
    On the other hand if they're completely privately funded then they could make up whatever rules they want due to their freedom to assocciate and discriminate.

  • Comment number 803.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 802.

    @794 I can see you are one of the leading minds of the 14th century.

  • Comment number 801.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 800.

    I'd like to know how they determine 'openly gay' to someone that hasn't had sex yet?

    Do they have to talk like Mr Humphries?

    Oh say can you see....

    Plonkers.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 799.

    Totally appalling that there is still a ban on gay scout leaders. Children should have role models who promote acceptance.
    To begrudge someone else their love of another person because of gender is absolutely absurd. It's based in fear, fear of the other, fear of what is not like you. It's crazy that we still live in a world where people hold such hateful views.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 798.

    So you meet someone who is not the same as you.... do you

    a) embrace them as a friend
    b) fear them because they are not the same
    c) hate them because they are not the same
    d) use a supposed loving and caring religion to justify b & c

    People are gay... always have been.... always will be. Get over it.

    Am I straight or gay? Dosen't matter.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 797.

    @ 787 Shaunie Babes - I am not confusing anything. being homosexual does not mean you are automatically attracted to children of the same sex in the same way being heterosexual does not, as others have posted on here. I am glad that your ignorance is slowly, but surely, going the way of the dodo!

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 796.

    How to wreck a perfectly good organization in one extremely foul swoop.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 795.

    Allan Turing, our great WW2 hero, was persecuited by respectable authority for being homosexual.

    This was extreme behaviour by hypocrits, so called respectable folk, when it turned out that much of civil service were gay in private, but married in public?? Turing was told this by his superior. "Keep it under your hat old boy because we all do it."

    Respectability is really extremism

  • Comment number 794.

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

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 793.

    778. bedbug97

    "Men spending time around young boys is always a bit creepy."

    It is only creepy if some pervert see boys as sex objects.

    I am a teacher and spend my time around a lot of boys and girls. My trustworthiness is supported by a CRB check. Teachers and scout leaders are in a position of trust, but their employing organisation should have a robust child-protection policy.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 792.

    Boy scouts are, surely, boys: black, white, fat, thin, tall, short, nice, nasty, noisy, quiet, gay, straight, Christian, Jewish, clever, thick, athletic, inactive. Scouting involves the full mix and gets them all involved together. If the US Scouts barred gay boys, they were not adhering to the principals of Scouting.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 791.

    I actually find this very interesting. The change would alter the very nature of this organization. Traditionally, Boy Scouts suppose to help guiding boys to become "good" men in society. And the "men" in here have been inexplicitly refer to as the heterosexual men since the very beginning! Would male bonding between heterosexual male the same as bonding between hetero and homosexual males?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 790.

    754.45minutewarning
    8 Minutes ago
    Glad to see the beeb picking up on the really important stories.

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

    Or are the right American homosexual boy scouts more important?




    +++

    The views of the vast majority of normal peopleon that would lead to a very dull narrow range of comments.

 

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