By ZOLA ROSS-GRAY, age 11
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has broken its longstanding ban on gay scouts. Before the vote was held the BSA proposed to end the ban, which did not allow openly gay boys to become scouts. The vote, which took place on May 25, contained a measure to end the ban on gay scouts, but did not include gay leaders.
Scouting’s National Council voted to end the ban, and now all boys can become boy scouts regardless of their sexual orientation. However, when gay scouts turn 18, they will be kicked out as they not allowed to serve as volunteers or scoutmasters. Jonathan Capehart from the Washington Post thinks that the BSA is setting themselves up to let openly gay people become leaders. He stated that “Once these gay scouts learn all these terrific things from the boy scouts, then they are going to drum these leaders out, these wonderful kids out, once they become adults; it doesn’t make sense.” He believes that eventually the BSA will have to allow gay leaders as well.
Many Christian organizations have not responded well to this decision. Robert Schwarzwalder, Senior Vice President of the Family Research Council, an organization promoting Judeo-Christian values, told the New York Times, “The fallout from this is going to be tremendous. I think there will be a loss of hundreds of thousands of boys and parents. This great institution is going to be vitiated (ruined) by the intrusion of a political agenda.” Some groups of Christian parents are creating alternatives to the Boy Scouts, and some churches are breaking deep ties with the BSA. Still, the Southern Baptist Church has high hopes for the BSA, and hope that “this issue” will be resolved at the annual meeting in Houston.
Despite the anger of these groups, many celebrated the lifting of the ban on gay scouts and will continue to work to end the ban on gay leaders for a fully inclusive BSA.