Just last July, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its policy to exclude gays from being members or leaders, issuing a statement declaring that such was “the best policy for the organization,” according to ABC News.
But in response to continued progress on the gay-rights front, they have chosen to reconsider. As the nation grows to sympathize with the LGBTQ movement, the Boy Scouts of America may end its ban on homosexual scout members and leaders, according to NBC News Monday. If approved, the change could be announced as early as next week.
For many, this is overdue progress. BSA is one of the largest youth organizations in the country, boasting 2.7 million members and more than 1 million adult volunteers. Generally an organization with a positive impact, the Scouts provides “a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness,” according to the organization’s website.
The national program fosters a strong community of young men who grow, hopefully, into strong community leaders. To refuse gays the right to be part of such a beneficial organization seems warped, especially in 2013, with both liberal U.S. President Obama and conservative former Gov. Mitt Romney having advocated for the acceptance of homosexuals in the Boy Scouts. To discriminate against gays in the Boy Scouts is to imply that gays are neither capable of Boy Scout activities nor worthy of such community and character development.
Boy Scouts is recognizing that, because gays exist they must also be included, and in a society in which gay marriage will continue to be viewed as socially and morally acceptable, it is necessary to teach youth the importance of acceptance and coexistence, if not advocacy for the cause. Admitting homosexuals into the Boy Scouts is a good step toward educating youth of the cause and diminishing the stigma otherwise often attached to being gay.
To continue to ban gays, conversely, will widen the divide on the issue, and provoke ongoing hate. To keep them out of the Boy Scouts effectively asserts that gays are not “boys,” and thus not of equal status to their heterosexual counterparts.
Undoing the ban is a step in the right direction. More efforts at acceptance and assimilation will need to be made, however. The Girl Scouts, for example, already donates much of its cookie sales proceeds to funding community service and action projects, which include LGBTQ, and women’s rights education efforts.