I’d bet that a storm of negative reaction prompted the Boy Scouts of America’s governing board to delay today a decision on whether to end the organization’s discrimination against participation by gay people as scouts or scout leaders.

Equality delayed is equality denied. But it’s also true that a policy change would have been a half-measure at best, because under consideration was a proposal to remove a national rule, but allow individual troop and pack sponsors to discriminate. With the majority of scout groups sponsored by churches that believe in discrimination, de facto discrimination was certain to continue to be widespread. A change would drive many of the discriminating groups out, or worse in an outward way, might create “separate-but-equal” enclaves (water fountains and toilets, too?) for straights and diverse groups at jamborees, pinewood derbies and other group events.


Scouting is eroding already (participation down by 19 percent since 2000), discrimination or no.