The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), one of the country’s largest youth development organizations, today did away with the organization’s national policy that banned LGBT scouts, but continued their ban on LGBT scout leaders.
Under increasing pressure from within its leadership and from financial sponsors who found the ban indefensible the BSA has been backing away slowly from its anti-gay policy.
"While we applaud the fact that today's vote will open the door for gay youth to participate openly and honestly in the BSA, it fails to meet the Scouts' own standard of courage and leadership,” said Brian Winfield, Managing Director of Equality Florida.
“Today's policy change by the Boy Scouts of America means that three million same-sex parents will continue to be excluded from participating as scout leaders " Winfield said. “Perhaps the BSA should bestow half a merit badge on itself for having the courage to ‘almost’ do the right thing. Discrimination is offensive and wrong whether it is dictated locally or nationally.”
BSA officials announced the results of the vote at the Scouts’ national meeting in Grapevine, TX.
In the weeks before the decision, many Eagle Scouts returned their hard-earned medals to protest the Scouts' policy of excluding gays.
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.