Big news emerged yesterday, as the Boy Scouts of America announced that a vote to end the ban on openly gay membership was passed by over 60% on 23 May, 2013. This policy has been heavily disputed for some time now, as according to this Wikipedia entry; and references have been made since as early as 1978 that the BSA deemed it inappropriate to allow homosexuals to hold leadership positions within the organization. Similar references have also been made against atheists and agnostics over the years.
This is certainly a huge step and a controversial move for the organization, especially under heavy scrutiny from parents and outside organizations (mainly religious) who sponsor more than 60-70% of the nearly 120,000 US scouting units to pull sponsorship as a result of the vote to end the ban on openly gay members.
As an Eagle Scout myself, the highest rank attainable in the Scouts, and a heterosexual male, I have to ask the glaring question—why do we still care about this? The BSA itself states:
The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.
As far as I can remember, we never once even discussed the topic of sexuality or sexual preference. The closest we ever got to the subject was proper field grooming and ensuring we checked for ticks and bug bites on ourselves so as not to contract Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. This “issue” in my opinion is that it is nothing more than a religious and/or personal preference that has no place in the program. The skills, craft, and morals the Scouting program teaches deal with being a productive member of society and building confidence in yourself and as a member of a team to accomplish any task placed in front of you. Science has yet to prove that homosexuals are inferior at accomplishing those tasks or are unable to acquire those traits.
I commend the positive voting members, though I know it will hurt many Scouting programs who will lose membership and sponsorship due to the decision and official transition date of January 1, 2014. One step further to stopping downplaying people’s abilities according to their sexual preference.
The policy ban on homosexuals serving in a leadership position within the Boy Scouts of America is not affected by this decision, and according to officials, is not under consideration at this time. The following NBC video explains more: