By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian. NEW YORK Reuters - The Boy Scouts of America on Friday proposed lifting a ban on gay scouts but maintaining a prohibition on gay adults from leading troops, a compromise that attempts to end a fight that has split the century-old American institution into bitter factions. Reaction from scouting supporters ranged from outrage to limited approval. The biggest organization in scouts, the Mormon Church, said it was studying the proposal, leaving uncertain the outcome of a May vote by scout leaders that will set policy. Gay rights groups said continuing to bar gay adults was unacceptable, but they welcomed the change for youths. We must brace ourselves for the long haul on this one.
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The Southern Baptist resolution comes as the BSA faces backlash for its new policy of extending participation to openly gay children, but not openly gay adults. Opponents warned that the change would cause mass defections from the organization. Should these groups choose to "vote with their feet and leave," as Family Research Council's Rob Schwarzwalder predicted , the BSA would become a shadow of its former self. Topping the list of faith-based sponsors is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which gave its stamp of approval shortly after the proposal was introduced. Leaders of the United Methodist Church, which sponsors the second-largest number of scouts, also welcomed the policy change. Coming in at number four on the BSA's list of faith-based chartered organizations is the Presbyterian Church. Leaders from the Episcopal Church , United Church of Christ ,and Metropolitan Community Churches have all issued statements of support for the BSA's inclusive policies—a far different response than the mass exodus opponents were predicting.
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In Scouting, boys and girls start with their best right now selves and grow into their very best future selves. The Boy Scouts of America places the greatest importance on creating the most secure environment possible for our youth members. To maintain such an environment, the BSA developed numerous procedural and leadership selection policies and provides parents and leaders with resources for the Cub Scout, Scouts BSA and Venturing programs. Scout Oath: On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
The Boy Scouts of America's National Council has voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts, Thursday, May 23, The Scouts' longstanding ban on gay adults remains in force, and many liberal Scout leaders -- as well as gay-rights groups -- plan to continue pressing for an end to that exclusion even though the BSA's top officials aren't ready for that step. Meanwhile, many conservatives within the Scouts are distraught at the outcome of the vote and some are threatening to defect. A meeting is planned for next month to discuss the formation of a new organization for boys. The vote was conducted by secret ballot Thursday during the National Council's annual meeting at conference center not far from Boy Scout headquarters in suburban Dallas.