By Zach Wahls
On 29, Jan 2013 | In Campaign News | By Zach Wahls
Yesterday, the BSA announced that its executive board will consider an end to its long-standing anti-gay ban.
It was kind of a big deal.
Next week, BSA leadership will convene in Dallas, TX for a national board meeting. Inside sources have told media outlets and Scouts for Equality that they expect the proposal to pass overwhelmingly.
The proposed change will kick the decision-making authority for membership standards from the national level to the local level, allowing local chartering organizations (i.e. sponsors) to set these policies.
While we feel that this is an important step in the right direction, we believe there remains more work to do.
We expect an overwhelming majority of BSA Troops, Packs and Councils to rapidly enact non-discrimination policies, as we have heard countless stories from local leaders about how the ban on gay members has negatively impacted local units. Further, given that the national barrier has now come tumbling down, conversations about this policy will now occur in open daylight instead of being pushed behind closed doors. As we have seen over the last decade, conversation about this issue generally leads towards more acceptance of LGBTQ people.
But Scouts for Equality will not leave it to chance. Should the policy change be adopted, after its implementation in June of this year, SFE will launch our “Equal Council” campaign, encouraging councils across the country to adopt formal non-discrimination policies for its member troops and packs.
The BSA should be commended for an important step forward. That being said, discrimination–whether it’s at the national level or the local level–send a harmful message to all youth, gay or not, and has no place in Scouting.
We are thankful for your support thus far and look forward to working together to preserve the BSA.
Yours in Scouting,