In an attempt to prevent further backlash received over the past few months, the Boy Scouts of America announced in April its proposal to allow gay boys into its ranks – but still no gay adult troop leaders.
Needless to say, the proposal has done little for the organization amid the controversy, instead shedding light on the group’s out-dated discriminatory values.
The decision, should it be approved later this month by the 1,400 members of the national council, would take effect Jan. 1 2014. Yet it’s clear that whatever the outcome of the vote is, the BSA is continuing its discrimination against homosexuals.
While lifting a ban on gay youth is an important step forward, continuing a policy to ban gay adults is hypocritical – and actually seems to encourage its gay youth to stay in the closet by prohibiting the participation of positive gay role models.
Essentially nothing would be changing from the BSA’s current effectively “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Rather, the message sent is that gay children will be shunned from the Scouts once they hit the legal adult age of 18.
The organization has continued to draw religion into the controversy, arguing that the organization must reflect the conservative influence of the Roman Catholic churches, Mormon churches and the Southern Baptist Convention, who are its largest sponsors.
Still, not all religious affiliations opposed the BSA’s proposal.
“United Methodists affirm that all persons are individuals of sacred worth,” executive of the General Board of Church and Society Jim Wrinkler told the Los Angeles Times recently.
The Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization GLAAD also released a statement through vice president of communications Rich Ferraro, arguing that “By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership.”
While the topic continues spark debate from both sides of the issue, a study of 200,000 respondents conducted by BSA in February found that parents from three of four Scouts regions were against the current policy of not allowing gay to participate in Boy Scouting.
A resolution will come during the week of May 20 when the national council meets in Texas, but regardless, it appears the discrimination in the century-old organization will continue. For now, at least.