NBC News is reporting that the Boy Scouts of America is considering ending its policy of banning of gay scouts or scout leaders, according to officials within the organization.
The new policy, which is being discussed internally, would eliminate the ban from the organization’s rules. This would leave local sponsoring organizations free to choose whether to admit gay scouts or use scout leaders who are openly gay.
Deron Smith, a spokesman for the BSA, says, “The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”
He adds that individual sponsors and parents would “be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families” and that the policy would “allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue.”
“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,” says Smith.
This issue has been a controversial one, making headlines over the past couple years. It was just last summer when the Boy Scouts examined their gay ban and chose to uphold it, with the national BSA board calling it the “best policy for the organization.”
However, two CEOs on the BSA national board, AT&T’s Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young’s James Turley, have said they would work against the ban. Furthermore, local United Way groups and several corporations have concluded that the gay ban violates their non-discrimination requirements and have stopped financial aid to the Boy Scouts.