Written by Anya Callahan
Last April, the Boy Scouts of American told Ohio Boy Scout mom Jennifer Tyrell she would no longer be permitted to serve as a den leader of her son’s Cub Scout troop because of her sexual orientation. Jennifer had served as a den mother for close to a year after her son joined the Boy Scouts.
The Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) approved a new resolution Thursday, and the organization will now allow for openly gay scouts. The caveat to this notable victory is this new policy only protects youth, still allowing for open discrimination and exclusion of scouts 18 and older.
“No parent should ever have to look their children in the eyes and tell them their family isn’t good enough. But the Boy Scouts’ [new resolution] forces gay parents and adult leaders to do just that,” Tyrell told GLAAD.
The newly revised BSA Membership Standards Resolution reads: “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The significance of the word “youth” is important.
The charter continues to read, “the Boy Scouts of America will maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America,” which dictates that LGBT parents and elders will continue to be prohibited from leading troops.
While the new policy is certainly a step in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done for LGBT advocacy groups.
“We now have a [resolution] that would protect youth across the entire country, regardless of where you live, who charters your unit, and that’s a really big deal,” founder of Scouts For Equality Zach Wahls told Campus Progress. “Frankly, that’s more than I think any of us thought we were going to get when we started this campaign last year.”
But Wahls noted major flaws in the new charter.
“When we are are telling kids, gay or straight, that discrimination is ok, that’s a problem,” he told Campus Progress. “So we certainly view this proposal as a step in the right direction, but this, in no way, will be where this campaign ends.”
The Boy Scouts is one of the largest youth organizations in the US with more than 2.5 million young scouts.
The resolution was voted in by a 61 percent margin.
“If you look at the actual values of the organization, there is nothing about scouting that I think would require you to be anti-gay,” Wahls said.
Wahls told Campus Progress that the Scouts actually taught him values and skills he utilizes in his campaign to end BSA discrimination.
“One of the merit badges you have to earn for the rank of Eagle Scout is called Citizenship in the Community…You are taught, in the Boy Scouts that if there is a policy on the books that you disagree with, you are supposed to work to change it. And that is exactly what we have done”
This post was originally published by Campus Progress.
Photo: Ted Eytan/flickr