The Boy Scouts of America Just Made A Huge Move on Gay Rights

July 13th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

The Boy Scouts of America, one of the largest youth organizations in the country, has followed up on its 2013 move to lift the ban on gay Scouts, extending the progressive policy to Scout leaders. In a statement released Monday, BSA announced the update to its adult leadership standards, which is set to be ratified by the National Executive Board on July 27.

The club's executive committee unanimously approved the resolution on Friday, following "an emphatic speech in May by the BSA's president, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, declaring that the longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults was no longer sustainable," the Associated Press reports.

Gates argued that the organization couldn't "ignore the social, political, and juridical changes taking place in our country—changes taking place at a pace over this past year no one anticipated." In an effort to keep up with that pace, the former government executive encouraged members of the committee to "seize control of our own future, set our own course, and change our policy in order to allow charter partners—unit sponsoring organizations—to determine the standards for their Scout leaders."

In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the organization announced it would amend the policy.

"For me, I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs, allows religious organizations—based on first amendment protection of religious freedom—to establish their own standards for adult leaders, and preserves the Boys Scouts of America now and forever. I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement."

In our previous reporting, ATTN: has looked at changes that have taken place at the BSA's sister organization, the Girl Scouts of the USA, which also offer helpful insight into the shifting dynamics of youth club policies across the country. By supporting LGBT rights, GSA troops based Colorado, Utah, Washington, and other states have taken a strong stance against discrimination in their respective units, which has manifested throughout the organization. The executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America had some catching up to do.

"Scouting will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth to help them grow into good, strong citizens," the BSA statement continues. "By focusing on the goals that unite us, we are able to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve."