The Boy Scouts of America announced Thursday (May 23) that the organization will allow gay scouts but continue to exclude LGBT adults from leadership positions.
About 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts’ National Council “approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone,” the organization said in a statement. “The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of scouting age is contrary to the virtues of scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place.”
In an email blast Thursday, John O’Connor, executive director of the LGBT lobbying group Equality California, said, “Instead of forging boldly into the future, the Boy Scouts of America has clung to the prejudices of the past.”
The Boy Scouts’ decision means “gay scouts would still be kicked out at 18, that LGBT parents are still unfairly excluded, and that the BSA is still the largest youth group teaching discrimination,” O’Connor said.
He touted the Youth Equality Act, authored by out Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach), which would remove a state tax exemption for any youth group, including the Boy Scouts, that discriminate against members or leaders on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.