Boy Scouts of America Officially Ends Ban on Homosexual Adults
By Diamond Hunt-Coleman
For more than two decades, Boy Scouts of America has had a ban in place barring homosexual men and women from being leaders, volunteers, and even working in their offices; well all of that has come to an end.
On Monday, July 13, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced that their National Executive Committee approved the resolution that will now reverse the ban on homosexual adults working within the organization.
This change will eliminate the ban on openly gay or bisexual adults within scouting. It will allow individual troops to determine their own policy regarding the eligibility of openly gay or bisexual scoutmasters or other adult leaders. Plus, it will prohibit regional governing councils, such as camps, from discriminating against employees and volunteers based on their sexual orientation. And, it will allow previously removed leaders to reapply for their positions.
Former Scouts, such as Abdur-Rasheed Muhammed, are happy with the decision to reverse the ban.
“I believe that no one should be excluded from being a leader due to their sexual preference,” said Raheed Muhammed. “I had a woman as a Boy Scout leader and she went through a lot of fire for that. But over time, after she showed herself to be a great leader, many of the parents approved of her.”
While many can breathe a sigh of relief because of the recent decision, others are not totally supportive of this decision due to the strong Christian values BSA is built upon. Many parents and older siblings look to the organization and its leaders to be an example for young men.
“I wouldn’t protest against the issue but I’m not supportive of it either,” said Rally Stripes, a former member of Boy Scout Troop 995 out of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “I don’t think they are the ideal role model for what a man should grow up to be.”
With this change in policy, the grounds on which the organization operates will not change. According to the resolution, all adult leaders participating in the program must “subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law.” This includes abiding by the religious principles that BSA was founded on and operates by.
Although this decision is met with much opposition, Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and the executive director of Scouts for Equality sees this as only the beginning of a bright future for BSA.
“For decades, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has stood as a towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia in one of America’s most important and recognizable civic organizations,” said Wahls. “While this policy change is not perfect it is difficult to overstate the importance of the announcement.”
A vote by the National Executive Board and the Boy Scouts’ governing body is set to take place on July 27. If ratified at this meeting, the changes will go into effect immediately.