Boy Scouts of America may soon allow gay adult troop leaders to serve in its organization, if its historic ban on gay troop leaders is removed this Monday. Lifting of the ban will remove a policy that has left the organization divided over the past several years.
The Boy Scouts National Executive Board plans to debate the resolution on Monday, but the resolution was already approved unanimously by the Boy Scout's executive committee in early July. The Boy Scouts have been promoting an end to the ban due to the massive shift in public opinion regarding gay rights -- specifically with regard to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that has paved the road for gay marriage throughout the nation.
Boy Scouts President Calls Ban on Gay Troop Leaders "Unsustainable"
According to ex-U.S. Defense Secretary and current Boy Scouts President Robert Gates, the ban on gays participating in the Boy Scouts is unsustainable and it needs to be removed. Gates, who played an instrumental role in eliminating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy barring gay individuals from U.S. military service, has been advocating for removing the ban in the Boy Scouts organization for some time.
Boy Scouts of America removed a previous ban on gay youth participation about two years ago. However, the ban on gay adult participation remained.
The Boy Scouts boasts membership numbers of 2.5 million youths from 7 to 21 years of age. It also has about 960,000 adult volunteers working in their local units.
Not Everyone Will Be Happy With the Decision
According to the chairman of a youth outdoor program for Christians, Trail Life USA, lifting the ban on gay troop leaders is going to make it more difficult for churches to integrate Boy Scouts programs with their ministry offerings.
Even if the ban on gay adult troop leaders is lifted, local Boy Scout units will still have the ability to decide whether leaders will be allowed to participate in their local chapters. In this case, or if Boy Scouts of America does not ultimately lift its organization-wide ban on gay troop leaders, this issue could inspire civil rights lawsuits down the road.
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