The governing board of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has voted to end the organization’s longstanding ban on openly homosexual troop leaders.
The policy change took effect immediately following a 45-12 vote by the National Executive Board in Irving, Texas.
“This change allows scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered by organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” the organization said in a statement, adding that retaining the ban “was no longer legally defensible.”
Boy Scout President Robert Gates, who had pushed for the change, likewise applauded the majority vote.
“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” he said.
The vote comes just two weeks after an executive committee of the BSA unanimously voted to lift the ban.
“As a result of the rapid changes in society and increasing legal challenges at the federal, state, and local levels, … the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee adopted a resolution amending the adult leadership standards policy,” it said in a statement.
The standards still require leaders to declare their duty to God and to be “moral” persons, but simultaneously allow those who are “sexually oriented” to those of the same gender to lead the young boys and teen members.
“The Boy Scouts of America affirms that sexual relations between adults should be moral, honorable, committed, and respectful. Adult scout leaders should reflect these values in their personal and public lives so as to be proper role models for youth,” the approved new policy reads in part.
While the policy declares that “[n]o adult applicant for registration as an employee or non-unit-serving volunteer, who otherwise meets the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America, may be denied registration on the basis of sexual orientation,” it also allows units to refuse based on their religious convictions. Source : Christian News