The Washington Post reports that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will change their ban on scout membership to include scouts who consider themselves gay, but the organization stopped short of full on tolerance by continuing to ban gay adult scout leaders.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it appears the Scouts still believe somehow there is a connection between gay adults and pedophiles. The fact of the matter is boys and girls may often have an elementary or middle school teacher who is gay, so the Scout’s ban on adult gay scout leaders is puzzling.
From the WaPo story:
The organization is proposing a resolution stating that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The change still must be approved by the group’s roughly 1,400 national council members at a meeting the week of May 20.
The shift comes after a months-long review of the long-standing policy. Since the Boy Scouts announced in January that they would reconsider the ban, both supporters and opponents have been lobbying leadership aggressively.
The group originally considered a compromise that would let local scouting organizations decide their own policies on homosexuals. The study found that idea generally unpopular.
Under the new resolution, the Boy Scouts will continue to bar adult leaders “who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
Religious chartered organizations told the national group that they were particularly concerned with allowing gay adult leaders and that including both gay youths and adults could cost the organization 100,000 to 350,000 members.
It’s hard enough to get parents to step up and take charge in cub scouts and boy scouts, and I know from first hand experience. But rather than ban gay adults from participating in scouting activities, it would be better for scout leaders to undergo the same sort of background checks and training given to coaches and parent volunteers in youth sports like AYSO, Little League, NJB or Pop Warner football. If you had a scout leader who had any prior arrests for a sex-related crime, suicidal tendencies, or any sort of connection with the porn industry, they shouldn’t be anywhere near kids. A scout leader needs to be someone the kids can look up to not just in scouting but well after scouting is over.
So what is missing from this revised policy are details on the screening process for any adult scout leaders, and if they pass the screening it shouldn’t matter if the scout leader is gay or straight. Morality is far more than sexual orientation.