This week the Boy Scouts’ of America ended its blanket nationwide ban on gay adult scout leaders, prompting celebration among many across the United States.
By a 45-12 vote, the BSA’s National Executive Board’s decision takes effect immediately, but allows church-sponsored Scout units to continue excluding gay adults for religious reasons.
The Mormon church, which is the country’s largest sponsor of Scout units, warned that it may end its association with the BSA and form its own global scouting organization. A statement from Salt Lake City said the BSA’s new policy is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church.
In Texas, BSA headquarters issued a statement expressing its appreciation for its long-running relationship with the Mormon church.
Across the U.S., large numbers of gay Eagle Scouts expressed their interest in rejoining the Boy Scouts of America as volunteers by signing up with the Scouts for Equality advocacy group.
The LGBT-rights organization Human Rights Campaign contended that the BSA should not allow church-sponsored units to continue the ban on gay leaders.
Chad Griffin, the HRC’s president, said the Boy Scouts should not continue to allow discrimination in any form.
The Boy Scouts’ of America’s decision is evidently aimed at easing the controversy over gay scout leaders that has been troubling the organization for many years.
In May of this year, BSA president Robert Gates told the organization’s national meeting that the long-standing ban on gay adult leaders was no longer sustainable, saying the ban was likely to be the target of lawsuits that the BSA would likely lose.