After two years of reviewing the membership policies of the organization, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed the decision to ban any openly gay members from entering or remaining in the organization on Tuesday. The decision was reached by a small committee, whose members the BSA did not openly identify.
The decision was made by an 11-member committee, which made a unanimous vote to keep the current policy in place, NPR reports.
The BSA released a full statement regarding the decision on Tuesday:
The BSA policy is: “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.
The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.
The Boy Scouts of America have faced tough criticism over the last decade as LGBT activists have called for changes after the Supreme Court ruled that the BSA could maintain its anti-gay policy. The newest policy review came in the wake of multiple protests about the BSA’s elective membership policies. One Ohio den mother was barred from serving in the BSA because it was discovered she was a lesbian.
Critics of the ban argue that the Boy Scouts of America is sending the wrong messages. Rather than remaining an inclusive organization that draws in a wide variety of people for participation, the ban reenforces the idea that only certain types of people are suited to the BSA. Although the organization claims that issues of sexuality should be addressed in more personal space, this ban reaches much further than home territory. The phrase which states that the BSA does not grant membership to those “who engage in behavior that would become a distraction” remains a vague but outright way to ban certain individuals from participating in the organization.
Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign is quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “They’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.”
Defenders of the BSA claim that the majority of parents and supporters in the Boys Scouts of America agree with the ban. Now that the BSA has announced the newest decision, leaders have stated that no further consideration of membership policies will follow.
Photo Credit: Flickr: Boy Scouts
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