Reuters reported this morning that the Boy Scouts of America called to end a long-standing ban on openly gay members:
The Boy Scouts of America called to end a long-standing ban on openly gay members, a spokesman said on Friday, but the organization's board must still vote in May on whether to ratify the resolution.
If the vote is approved, "no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."
While the end of the ban is being lauded by many, others have suggested that the timing of the announcement, in the shadow of the Boston manhunt, is questionable:
The resolution, if passed, would be effective Jan. 1, 2014. LGBT groups, including GLAAD, have pointed out the significance of the word "youth" in the new resolution.
The resolution states:
Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.
Based on this resolution, Jennifer Tyrrell and other out troop leaders would still be banned from from the BSA.
Quote from Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell who was ousted as her 7 year-old son's den leader via letter on April 17, 2012:
One year after sending a letter ousting me as my son's leader, the Boy Scouts are once again forcing me to look my children in the eyes and tell them that our family isn't good enough," said Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell. "My heart goes out to the young adults in Scouting who would be able to continue as scouts if this is passed, but then be thrown out when they reach the age to become leaders.
The letter Jennifer Tyrrell received last year:
The debate over whether to admit openly gay and lesbian members to the Boy Scouts has placed the group at the center of a nationwide debate over gay rights over the past two years.
The resolution comes after a lengthy review process in which the BSA gathered perspectives from inside and outside the Scouting family:
The BSA ended their media statement with the words:
America needs Scouting, and our policies must be based on what is in the best interest of our nation's children. Throughout this process, we work to stay focused on that which unites us, reaching and serving young people to help them grow into good, strong citizens. Our priority remains to continue accomplishing incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.
Update 3:27 p.m.: Michael Purdy, Church Spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has provided the following comment in response to the BSA resolution released today:
"The Church has been provided a copy of the new resolution regarding membership standards for BSA. Church leaders will take the time needed to fully review the language and study the implications of this new proposal. We note that BSA will make a final decision on this matter at their National Annual Meeting next month."
Update 3:53 p.m.: Statement from Scouts for Equality Regarding the the BSA Resolution
"Scouts for Equality supports the Boy Scouts of America's proposal to end its ban on gay youth nationwide as it is a crucial step and we will work to encourage members of the National Council to vote to approve it," said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and the founder of Scouts for Equality. "But we will continue to fight to push discrimination out of Scouting once and for all. For families like mine, the BSA's ban on gay leaders will continue to prevent many great and loving parents from sharing the joys of Scouting with their children. But today, this is about the kids, and we are glad that the Boy Scouts of America is taking this historic step forward."