Boy Scouts move closer to ending ban on gay leaders

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By Dana Ford

The Boy Scouts of America has moved one step closer to ending its ban on gay adults as leaders.

The organization’s executive committee adopted a resolution last week that would change the policy.

“This resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation, continuing Scouting’s longstanding policy of chartered organizations selecting their leaders,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement Monday.

“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families. This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own,” it read.

The national executive board is expected to meet to ratify the resolution on July 27.

Scouts for Equality, an organization dedicated to ending the ban, cheered the news.

“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. While this policy change is not perfect — BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults — it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement,” said Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality.

Chad Griffin, president of the LGBT civil rights organization the Human Rights Campaign, commended the committee’s move, but took issue with the exemption for religious organizations.

“The vote by the executive committee to recommend that gay, lesbian and bisexual adults be allowed to work and volunteer for the Boy Scouts is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on one of our nation’s most storied organizations,” he said. “But writing in an exemption for troops organized by religious organizations undermines the potentially historic nature of today’s vote.”

The Boy Scouts of America voted in 2013 to allow gay youths into the organization. In May, the president of the group called for it to end its ban on gay adults.

Robert Gates noted then that the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was overturned by a judge in 2010, when he was defense secretary, prompting Congress to repeal the law. He said decisions on the Boy Scouts’ policy could also be dictated by the courts, and it would be better “to seize control of our own future.”

“We can act on our own, or we can be forced to act, but either way, I suspect we don’t have a lot of time,” Gates said.

CNN’s Todd Leopold, Lauriel Cleveland, Henry Hanks and Devon Sayers contributed to this report.



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