It was a historic day on Thursday May 23rd, as the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) voted to overturn its controversial policy that banned homosexual youth from being part of one of the U.S.A.’s most popular youth organisations.
The Scout’s National Council voted quite resoundingly against the policy with over 61% of delegates voting for the ban to be lifted. The final figures were 757 yes votes, 475 no and 168 abstaining votes. While this is welcome news, the refusal to include a vote on adult homosexual leaders has disappointed a number of quarters.
Tico Perez, BSA national commissioner said, “This resolution today dealt with youth. We have not changed our adult membership standards. They have served us well for the last 100 years. Those were not on the table”.
The lifting of the ban will take effect from 1st January 2014. In statement from the BSA, they said that this would allow them “the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units”.
As news of the successful vote spread, a number of stars took to Twitter welcoming the development, but pushing for them to go further in regard to the adult ban:
Jesse Tyler Ferguson: “’TieTheKnotOrg: Breaking: Boy Scouts approve proposal to allow gay youth. Ban on leaders still remains.’ Good step forward #BoyScouts”
Marlee Matlin: “RT @jessetyler Boy Scouts approve proposal to allow gay youth. Ban on leaders still remains. Good step forward #BoyScouts > I agree! xx”
Joshua Malina: “’You’re ok, gays. Just don’t grow up.’ RT @ABC #Breaking:Boy Scouts Vote to End Ban on Gay Scouts; Gay Adults Still Barred From Leadership.”
Jenna Dewan-Tatum: “Well..you almost did something great Boy Scouts…#equality4all #getwiththetimes”
Jason Biggs: “Boy Scouts will start accepting gay youths, but keep banning gay adult leaders. That’s not at all a confusing message to these kids.”
“You’re ok to be gay while ur a kid n clearly don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, but u better grow out of it! – The Boy Scouts”
Rob Delaney: “It’s cool that the @BoyScouts will allow gays kids but not gay adults since homosexuality is just a phase that can be cured through prayer.”
While this is a victory of sorts, the ban on adult gay leaders needs to be addressed. What happens to the gay members once they reach 18? Is their birthday present a revoking of their BSA membership? The fight for equality in this organisation is far from over, but the first steps have certainly been taken.