Activists working to overturn the Boy
Scouts of America's (BSA) ban on gay scouts and leaders called
Thursday's decision a “first step.”
At its annual gathering outside Dallas,
Texas, 61 percent of the roughly 1,400 volunteer leaders from
scouting's 270 councils approved a proposal put forth by the BSA to
end its ban on openly gay scouts. The resolution, which takes effect
January 1, keeps in place a ban on gay adults.
Zach Wahls, the young charismatic Iowa
man who came to national prominence two years ago defending his
two-mom family at an Iowa House hearing, was among the activists who
spoke to reporters immediately after the decision was announced.
“I'm extraordinarily pleased with
today's outcome,” Wahls said. “It is a step in the right
direction. But our work goes on.”
“I got into this fight because my two
moms, Jackie and Terry, were two of the most incredible leaders that
a young scout could ever ask for. And the idea that we would ever
prevent parents like mine, parents like Jen [Tyrrell], from being
leaders in the Boy Scouts is unacceptable.”
Greg Bourke, an ousted scout leader,
said he was “still quite disappointed.”
“This is a small step forward,”
said Mark Noel, who also was expelled from the organization's
leadership rooster. “The Boy Scouts of America have a long way to
“The fact that this policy comes with
an expiration date for every young LGBT scout in the program means
that it is still discriminatory. There is still a double standard.
There is only good way to grow up under the now current policy. And
that is to grow up straight,” he added.