By a 61% to 38% vote, the Boy Scouts of America passes a resolution allowing gay scouts starting January 1, 2014. The decision came at the BSA's annual meeting in Texas.
The resolution says:
Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.
While this resolution changes the requirements for youth members, adult membership requirements remain unchanged.
For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America, the nation's foremost youth program, has been providing its youth program of character development and values-based leadership training to the youth of our communities.
The BSA spent most of the first part of this year conducting a thorough review of the BSA's Membership Standards, educating the leaders and parents, and surveying various constituencies. That review confirmed that this issue remains among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today. There was an outpouring of feedback from the American public; and the same was true from our Scouting families. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.
Scout Executive Wayne Pancoast states, "As perspectives and opinions vary significantly throughout the country and even within our own council, we believe good people can disagree on a variety of topics and yet still work together to accomplish great things for youth. We as Scouts will continue to stay focused on our mission of instilling in young people the values of the Scout Oath and Law."
Pancoast tells Kansas First News he's not sure if this decision will make a difference with the Boy Scouts in this area.
"They're at a point in their lives where they haven't made those decisions in most cases," Pancoast says. "So I think it's too early to tell if that's going to have a positive or a negative affect. There's no one single factor that we can point to and say that this is the reason we'll recruit more kids or this is the reason we'll lose kids."
Pancoast says he's not sure if the Boy Scouts of America will consider lifting the ban on openly gay scout leaders in the future.