The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday ended its longstanding policy of forbidding openly gay youths to participate in its activities, a step its chief executive called “compassionate, caring and kind.”
60 percent of 1,400 participating Scout leaders approved the change. It does not extend to scout leaders, which still amounts to a tacit statement of its own. For that matter, it doesn’t allow gay adults at the outer edge of Scout membership. Would an Eagle Scout still participating at age 18 be forced to quit?
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called the change a “monumental step forward,” but added, “Boy Scouts’ leadership should stop clinging to a policy of exclusion and scrap the ban, once and for all. It’s long past time for a fully inclusive Boy Scouts of America.”
There will be fallout — in the short run, I’d guess, more negative than the positives will come from removal of an official exclusionary policy.
Hard as this step has been to achieve, I admit some softening in my feelings on the issue. But until all are treated equally, there’s work to be done. And to the extent the fallen Eagles might have helped encourage this vote, there’s nothing to regret.