The Boy Scouts of America is expected to end its longtime ban on gay adult leaders on Monday, a policy that the 105-year-old organization has struggled with for years. They plan to adopt a resolution put forth earlier this month.
In 2013, the organization decided to start welcoming openly gay youth as boy scouts, but not as counselors or leaders, Newsweek reports.The Boy Scouts National Executive Board are set to consider a resolution, which was approved by the executive committee on July 13, and allow leaders of any sexual orientation to lead troops. The policy would also allow local units to make their own choices regarding openly homosexual leaders.
The organization is hoping to end the ban due to “sea change in the law with respect to gay rights,” Reuters reports. This comes just off the heels of the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
In May, Boy Scouts president and former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the ban was “unsustainable” and it was due for change. Selecting Gates as president opened the door for a policy change since he aided in ridding of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned gay people from serving in the military.
Of course the ban stirred up some debate between conservatives and gay rights advocates. You know, the conservatives, like chairman of the breakaway Christian youth outdoor program Trail Life USA John Stemberger, say that it is an “affront to Christian morals.” This is to be expected since 70 percent of scouting units are sponsored by churches.
But gay rights advocates, such as an eagle scout and executive director of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls, claim the ban is an example of “institutional homophobia.”
Gates just wants everyone to focus on the goal at hand. The organization wrote in a statement earlier this month that “Scouting will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth to help them grow into good, strong citizens. By focusing on the goals that unite us, we are able to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.”