Allows Gay Members, but not Adult Leaders
The Vote Itself
On May 23, 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay youth to join Scouting. Sixty percent were in favor of this historic vote that overturned a twenty-two year-old ban on openly gay Scouts.
More than 1,400 voting members of the organization’s national council in Texas voted. Delegates voted on whether openly gay boys and teens should be allowed to participate in scouting. The meeting, at which more than 2,000 Boy Scout leaders and officials attended, concluded on May 24th. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2014.
History of Boy Scouts’ Boycott
The issue of gay Scouts has divided many people. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts could legally bar homosexuals from being troop leaders. A gay Scout leader, James Dale, who was dismissed in 1990, was at the center of the case.
The California Supreme Court in 1998 heard a similar case of a gay scout, Tim Curran. Curran took a male date to his senior prom. He sued The Mount Diablo Boy Scout Council that later barred him for scouting activities. The California court ruled for the Scouts.
Diverse Opinions About Gay Inclusion
Many conservatives are upset at the vote’s outcome. About 70% of all Scout Troops are run by faith-based organizations: about 37% are Mormon, 10% Methodists and 8% Catholic. The Mormon Church, the largest supporter, has said that the change will not affect its support for Scouting.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released May 9 found that 63% of Americans support allowing gay Scouts to join and 56% believe openly gay adults should be allowed to serve as Scout leaders.
Boy Scouts of America Statement
“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting.”