The 17-member executive committee of
the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has unanimously approved a resolution
that seeks to end its ban on gay adult leaders and volunteers.
A second vote by the 80-member National
Executive Board, scheduled to take place July 27, is needed before
the blanket ban is officially lifted.
If the new policy is approved, local
scout units will be allowed to decide the issue for themselves.
“This change allows Scouting's
members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations
with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,”
the BSA said in a statement. “This change would also respect the
right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose
adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, criticized the plan, calling
it a “half step.”
“The vote by the executive committee
to recommend that gay, lesbian and bisexual adults be allowed to work
and volunteer for the Boy Scouts is a welcome step toward erasing a
stain on one of our nation’s most storied organizations,” said
HRC President Chad Griffin. “But writing in an exemption for troops
organized by religious organizations undermines the potentially
historic nature of today’s vote.”
“As we have said countless times,
half measures are unacceptable and discriminatory exemptions have no
place in the Boy Scouts. It's long overdue that BSA leaders
demonstrate true leadership and embrace a full national policy of
inclusion that does not discriminate against anyone because of who
they are,” Griffin added.