The National Council of Boys Scouts of America (BSA) has proposed a resolution that would lift its ban on openly gay members, not merely leaving it to local councils to decide. The resolution would still bar gay adults from serving as leaders.
The Irving, Texas-based organization released the proposed resolution this morning, which states in part: “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” If passed at BSA’s national meeting next month, the resolution would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
The Boy Scouts does not have “an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue into the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda,” according to the resolution. “Scouting’s review confirmed that this remains among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.”
Along with the proposed two-page resolution, Scouts released a five-page executive summary of its Membership Standards Study, initiated in February. The summary outlines results of seven study groups: youth, parents and leaders, local councils, national council, chartered organizations, finance and fundraising, and legal. The “Voice of the Scout Membership Standards Survey” was sent to more than one million adult members, with more than 200,000 respondents.
James Dale, who was expelled from the Scouts in 1990 for being gay and challenged the organization in a case that ultimately went to the Supreme Court, said in a statement that the proposed change is not enough. “This Scout proposal continues to send a destructive message to all youth,” he said. “It offers the venire of acceptance, while still communicating gay is immoral. Fair-minded Americans will not again welcome the Scouts until they stop discriminating.”