Voting via secret ballot, 61 percent of the approximately 1,400 local leaders of the Boy Scouts of America gathered in Texas wisely chose to open the organization’s ranks to openly gay boys.
The end of a loathsome discriminatory practice is always a cause for celebration, and more so when the group involved is not only the oldest but, along with the Girl Scouts of America, one of the most revered youth organizations in the country.
But the ban on gay boys is only one aspect of the group’s anti-gay policy. Gay children may participate for the first time ever when the policy change becomes effective Jan. 1 – but not gay parents.
Gay adults still cannot be part of the organization by doing all the things parents do: sponsoring troupes and taking leadership roles in the organization. Grown-up Boy Scouts or Eagle Scouts who are gay cannot move on to leadership roles in scouting.
At 18, they’re out.
The ban on gay parents affects three million same-sex parents who will continue to be excluded from participating as scout leaders, said Brian Winfield, managing director of Equality Florida.
“Perhaps the BSA should bestow half a merit badge on itself for having the courage to ‘almost’ do the right thing,” he said.
When boy scouts set up tables at the local grocery stores to panhandle raise funds, I always make a point of telling them I wont contribute to a bigoted organization. I will still do so.