Boy Scouts Move to Potentially Repeal Gay Ban

photo by flickr user cometstarmoon

By Georgie Lawson

It may seem unusual that one group can stir up so much controversy over equal rights in a modern society. Shockingly, one private and well-known group has succeeded in doing so: The Boy Scouts of America.

Everyone has noticed how easily argument can arise with the mention of a word as simple as “gay.” States are increasingly considering and allowing gay marriage, and with this, some hope for other changes seems increasingly plausible. However, the potential repeal meets opposition from conservative groups and other concerned associations.

The Boy Scouts of America do not grant membership to people who are open homosexuals as either Scouts or adult Scout leaders. Recently this policy banning gays from the scouts has risen as a controversial issue, as the BSA executive Board is considering repealing it. The decision has been debated not only among those in controls, but also by concerned parents and guardians. Some claim that every boy should have the equal opportunity to participate in Boy Scouts and not allowing this would simply be discrimination, while other say that the Boy Scouts of America is a private group and allowing gays goes against their own beliefs and core values. Going along with this belief in the 2000 Supreme Court Case Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale it was established that homosexuals could be banned from joining the Boy Scouts on the account of “the right of private organizations to exclude a person from membership when the presence of that person affects the group’s viewpoints.” Some even go as far to assert that allowing gays into the Boy Scouts as leaders could endanger the children with the potential for pedophilia.

President Obama has expressed his hope that the law will be repealed.  "And you know the Scouts are a great institution, that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives. And I think nobody should be barred from that," the President told CBS’s Scott Pelley.

The result of the decision will be controversial regardless of the outcome. The BSA executive board announced that the decision to continue or repeal the ban on gays would not be made until May at the earliest. If the move to repeal the ban is successful, the national rule against allowing homosexuals into Boy Scouts will be nullified, leaving the decision to allow or not allow gays into Boy Scout troops up to local leaders.