Boy Scouts to Admit Openly Gay Youths as Members – NYTimes.com

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GRAPEVINE, Tex. — The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday ended its longstanding policy of forbidding openly gay youths to participate in its activities, a step its chief executive called “compassionate, caring and kind.”


The decision, which came after years of resistance and wrenching internal debate, was widely seen as a milestone for the Boy Scouts, a symbol of traditional America. More than 1,400 volunteer leaders from across the country voted, with more than 60 percent approving a measure that said no youth may be denied membership “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

The top national leaders of the Boy Scouts, who pledge fealty to God and country, had urged the change in the face of vehement opposition from conservative parents and volunteers, some of whom said they would quit the organization. But the vote put the Scouts more in line with the swift rise in public acceptance of homosexuality, especially among younger parents who are essential to the future of an institution that has been losing members for decades.

The policy change, effective January 2014, is unlikely to bring peace to the Boy Scouts as they struggle to keep a foothold in a swirling cultural landscape, with renewed lobbying and debate already starting Thursday evening.

The Scouts did not consider the even more divisive question of whether to allow openly gay adults and leaders. This drew criticism from advocates for gay rights, who called the decision a breakthrough but vowed to continue pressing the Scouts to allow gay members of all ages.

Some conservative churches and parents said the Scouts were violating their oath to be “morally straight” and said they would drop out.

Still, for gay men who were forced out of scouting and for their allies, thousands of whom joined the push for change, the opening of membership was more than welcome.

“I’ve waited 13 years for this,” said Matt Comer, now 27, who had to leave his scout troop at 14 after he started a Gay-Straight Alliance at his school. Since the fourth grade, he said Thursday, he had dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout and was crushed when he was denied the chance.
 

Written By: By ERIK ECKHOLM
continue to source article at nytimes.com

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  1. If some fundamentalist churches keep their promises, this is a big step forward.

    The loss of their strident intolerance can only lead to greater empathy and compassion.

    If they can be trusted to keep those promises.

    Peace.

  2. In reply to #2 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

    If some fundamentalist churches keep their promises, this is a big step forward.

    The loss of their strident intolerance can only lead to greater empathy and compassion.

    If they can be trusted to keep those promises.

    Peace.

    But that’s not what’s happening right now. Other news sources say Fundamentalist churches are pulling out of the Boy Scouts. Once a gay youth hits 18, his time is up.

    • In reply to #3 by QuestioningKat:

      Hi Kat,

      When I said: “The loss of their strident intolerance … ” I was referring to the churches’ saying that:

      … the Scouts were violating their oath to be “morally straight” and said they would drop out.

      I am confused by your response:

      But that’s not what’s happening right now.

      So … conservative churches are remaining fully involved with the Boy Scouts?

      Other news sources say Fundamentalist churches are pulling out of the Boy Scouts.

      Sorry, I’m lost, which is it?

      Once a gay youth hits 18, his time is up.

      Well that’s true of any Boy Scout – the clue is in the word boy.

      My point was that social change takes time. I’m not suggesting that those who are complaining that Scout Leaders who are openly gay should also have been allowed are wrong to complain.

      What I’m saying is that this move will accelerate the adoption of Gay Scout Leaders because their biggest hurdle, the conservative bigotry of church supporters, is being withdrawn. They’re already planning to leave – thus taking their anti-gay vote with them.

      In the meantime those of us who know that the Scouts is a great movement that nurtures young people and, in particular, often fills in as role model for young people who lack such role models must continue to pressurise for Gay Leaders to be a part of that model if we’re to create a more equal, more peaceful, more compassionate society.

      Those who thought that getting the Boy Scout organisation to accept gay membership across the board believe in revolutions. But if you want to live in a peaceful and progressive World, it can’t work that way – so it doesn’t work that way.

      Be thankful for small victories and remember: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Never give up the struggle.

      My only concern, as per my Comment 2, is; can we trust them to keep their promise?

      I hope that clears up any misunderstanding.

      Peace.

  3. I’m still not letting my kids have anything to do with Scouting (male or female) until there is a secular Promise option, and a right not to go to church parades etc.

    Scouting is quite simply one of the last bastions of discrimination and bigotry in an increasingly egalitarian world. It is an anachronism.

    Let’s have more Camp Quests please.

  4. After the smoke clears on the gay issue the question of membership in a protomilitary jingoistic godbothering organization remains.

    Boy Scout Oath or Promise:

    On my honor, I will do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times;
    To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

    DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY: Your family and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.

    Men and women of the past worked to make America great, and many gave their lives for their country. By being a good family member and a good citizen, by working for your country’s good and obeying its laws, you do your duty to your country. Obeying the Scout Law means living by its 12 points.
    Boy Scout Law

    A Scout is:

    Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
    `

    Note the absence of Curious, Independent, Questioning, Thoughtful.

    The Outdoor Code

    As an American, I will do my best to -

    Be clean in my outdoor manners
    Be careful with fire
    Be considerate in the outdoors, and
    Be conservation minded.

    Aliens can go ahead and trash their inferior countries whose dictators and despots we prop up and/or which we might be invading or bombing shortly.

  5. I am having my Eagle court of Honor the 2nd of June. I no longer feel as welcome as I used to at my troop and I would love if the ban on atheists in BSA were lifted. I plan to include a declaration (brief though it is) of my secularism during my Eagle Speech that will be given at the ceremony.

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