Boy Scouts Delay Decision On LGBT Members Until May

Gay rainbow flab with boy scout emblem

Rainbow flag image from Balch Flags (you can buy one here, but unfortunately, it won’t have the Boy Scout emblem)

After being put under enormous public pressure from former scouts, big name donors (like Intel and UPS) and the general public, the Boy Scouts of America have chosen to revisit their 2012 decision to continue their ban on openly LGBT members.

But not until May.

The decision was expected to be handed on Wednesday, but earlier in the day the BSA released the following statement:

“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy. To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns.”

According to CNNmembership in BSA has declined by a third since 2000. Curiously, this decline started right after the Supreme Court ruled that BSA has the right to discriminate as it sees fit. The resulting exodus of parents that were uncomfortable belonging to an organization openly hostile to the LGBT community led to a concentration of members that are perfectly fine and even encourage it. This, in turn, led to last year’s decision, based, in no small part, on the opinions of the current members. Preaching to the choir, it turns out, is not a very smart public relations move in the age of online activism.

The immediate outcry from LGBT and civil rights groups convinced big name donors to distance themselves from BSA until such time as they joined the rest of the country in the 21st century. As groups like One Million Moms found out the hard way, it’s easy to find millions of people who will vocally support equality but very difficult to get people to openly endorse mindless bigotry.

Hopefully, the executive board will listen to more than just the rapidly dwindling minority of bigots happily cheering for hate to codified. The Boy Scouts is an American tradition. Then again, so was segregation and women as property. If America stands for anything, it stands for reinventing itself and leaving the shackles of the past behind. Come on, Boy Scouts! Join the rest of us in the 21st century! It’ll be fun! And we have cake!

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