Evolving, as a generalization, isn’t a fast or easy process. The Boy Scouts evolving process on allowing gay boys and men to be scouts and leaders illustrates that nicely. In the latest round, after saying they were going to consider changing from the top-down policy of what amounts to “no gays allowed” to a half-way-pass-the-buck policy that made moved the decision to local chapters; and after receiving large and loud feedback from both sides of the argument – that is, pro and anti gay – today they announced they’re postponing the decision until, apparently, May.
At The Advocate:
Today’s board meeting was touted by the group itself as a potential turning point in the decades-long stalemate. On the table was a proposal to remove the national organization’s ban while instead allowing local troops to decide for themselves.
‘After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy,’ the executive board announced in a statement today. The group said the board would ‘further engage’ the ranks of the Scouts before 1,400 voting members convene at its national annual meeting in May.
The national BSA originally encouraged the public to offer feedback on its proposal to repeal the ban. And it may have gotten more than expected, quickly announcing it would stop taking phone calls.
Among others who voiced the “keep the policy as is” perspective are Rick Perry, Tony Perkins and Rick Santorum. Among those supporting the appeal is President Obama, someone who knows a bit about public evolving on LGBT “issues.”
After activists on Monday delivered 1.4 million signatures on a petition calling for an end to the ban, BSA spokesman Deron Smith acknowledged the immense pressure it is under from all sides.
One example of the actions on the further-Right is in the video below, in which, among other things, homosexuality is equated with pedophilia.
The Advocate has a very helpful timeline related to the BSA and their “gay” policy, beginning 1990:
James Dale, a New Jersey college student and Eagle Scout who had been invited to become an assistant scoutmaster, is forced out of the Boy Scouts after officials learn through a newspaper article that he is gay.
I always wonder when things like this happen – when an individual has been recognized as competent and worthy of, in this case, being asked to be an assistant scoutmaster – if those who made that assessment, before knowing the individual is gay and thus unworthy … do the “assessors” ever have questions about themselves, and their abilities and competence and worthiness?
Anyway, on to May, when we’ll find out if that darn controversial gay can will be kicked further down the straight road.
(Boy Scout Logo via BSA)