The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America reportedly is proposing to lift its ban on gay youth members, but retain its ban on gay and lesbian adult leaders, the Associated Press reports.
As a result of surveys over the past three months, the Boy Scouts sent out a proposal to local Scout councils for consideration and vote at their annual meeting in Grapevine in May. The new proposal would end the ban on gay Scouts but retain the ban on gay or lesbian Scout leaders.
If the resolution passed, “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said.
The proposal has been sent to the 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts’ National Council, who are expected to vote on it at the meeting next month.
GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro slammed the proposal.
“By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy,” Ferraro told Reuters.
Cub Scout mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted from the Scouts when her council found out she was lesbian, tweeted that her heart has been broken more times by BSA than it has in relationships.
“I am appalled at the Boys Scouts’ announcement,” Tyrrell said in a statement sent out by GLAAD. “The fact that they are still telling children their parents aren’t good enough is heartbreaking to me. How many times do families like mine have to be rejected by this organization? The release of this information at the same time our fellow Americans in Boston are suffering so much is nothing short of despicable. In a time, when we as a country need to stand up and show solidarity, compassion, and love for all, the BSA is continuing to divide the country with their discriminatory policy.”
Greg Bourke was a Scout leader for his son’s troop and was ousted when the organization learned his sexual orientation.
“I can’t even begin to explain how much it hurt when I read the proposed resolution and realized that the Boy Scouts were still telling me and my family that we’re not welcome,” Bourke said in the GLAAD statement. “After dedicating more than five years to my son’s Boy Scout troop and earning the love and respect of my community, how can the Boy Scouts honestly say that I’m not worthy to lead?”
Zach Wahls is an Eagle Scout raised by two moms who started the group Scouts for Equality.
“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 Wahl. “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.”
Read the full text of the proposed resolution below.