Huge progress has been made in the fight for equality within the Boy Scouts of America! Earlier this week, an executive committee approved a new proposal that would end a ban forbidding openly gay adults from working with the organization.
The 17-member committee's proposal counteracts an overall ban on openly gay scout leaders in favor of allowing individual groups to create their own policies regarding the sexual orientation of their leaders. This new resolution marks a compromise for both conservative and more liberal members of the Boy Scouts of America.
The movement will be up for review at the organization's next National Executive Board meeting, which is set to take place on July 27. At that point, the 80 members on the board will make the final vote before enacting the committee's new proposal. This will signify a markedly more accepting position for the Boy Scouts of America.
In 2013, the Boy Scouts passed a motion allowing openly gay members to join the group; however, they still refused openly gay adults the opportunity to assume leadership positions. Since the policy was enacted, there has been a counter-movement to create a more welcoming environment for all members.
The organization's current president Robert Gates has championed for ending the ban on gay troop leaders since assuming his position in early 2014. After an initial resolution was shot down that same year, Gates decided to champion for the cause again this May. During his impassioned speech, Gates claimed that refusing to adjust the Boy Scouts' stance would symbolize "the end of us as a national movement."
Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout who heads the Scouts for Equality advocacy group, commented on the importance of the resolution. Although he expressed the reality that religious charters would still be able to discriminate against gay leaders, he did not want to undermine the importance of such a monumental decision for the Boy Scouts' future.