The Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee on July 10 adopted a resolution that would allow openly gay adults to hold paid and volunteer positions. These include scoutmasters and unit leaders.
“No adult applicant for registration as an employee or non-unit-serving volunteer, who otherwise meets the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America, may be denied registration on the basis of sexual orientation,” reads the resolution.
The new policy would allow openly gay people who were previously removed from leadership positions because of their sexual orientation to reapply. The resolution also states the Boy Scouts of America will “continue to legally defend — or indemnify — the rights of its religious chartered organizations to choose leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”
“If ratified, adult leaders who were previously unable to serve in scouting may apply for volunteer leadership positions and will be eligible for selection if otherwise qualified, regardless of sexual orientation or preference,” reads the resolution.
Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, a group that has urged the organization to allow openly gay adults to serve in leadership positions, on Monday welcomed the resolution’s approval.
“For decades, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has stood as a towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia in one of America’s most important and recognizable civic organizations,” said Wahls. “While this policy change is not perfect — BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults — it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement.”
The Boy Scouts of America in 2013 began admitting openly gay scouts, but its ban on out adult leaders remained in place. Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates in May said the policy “cannot be sustained.”