Boy Scouts Vote to End Ban on Gay Scouts
After months of debate, the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift the ban on gay scouts, reports Reuters. More than 60 percent of the group’s National Council voted to end the ban, effective January 1 of next year.
While this is a victory for gay rights, the future of the Scouts, or at least many troops, is uncertain, since 70 percent of the units are run by faith-based organizations, many who support the ban. The Mormon Church is the largest supporter of troops, chartering 11,000 troops. When earlier this year the church announced its support of lifting the ban, it was seemed the Scouts as a whole were ready to accepted gay members.
However, in an online survey of Scout leaders and parents, almost twice as many were in favor of keeping the ban. Some former members and leaders have said they’d be leaving the organization and possibly starting rival organizations. Those troops run by leaders who support and continue the ban on gay Scouts could find themselves in financial trouble. Corporate sponsors like Intel Corp. have pledged to pull financial support, and earlier this year Chipotle pulled its support of Denver area troops that were against admitting gay kids and adults.
GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro told Reuters, “Today’s vote is a significant victory for gay youth across the nation and a clear indication that the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay adult leaders will also inevitably end.”