The Boy Scouts National Council issued a proposal on Friday (April 19) that youths could not be banned from the group “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” In order for the proposal to go into effect, it needs to be ratified by the approximately 1400 voting members of the Council. That will happen at a meeting on May 20 in Texas.
Despite this change, Scout leaders and other adults over the age of 18 will not be allowed if they self-identify publicly as homosexual.
It isn’t a given that the National Council will, in fact, ratify the proposal. A high percentage of Scout troops are sponsored by religious organizations, many of which oppose any move to allow openly gay members.
After a Supreme Court decision in 2000 allowed the Boy Scouts to continue to ban gay members, little has changed for the organization. Recent polls conducted by the organization, however, indicate that a majority of youths and younger parents favor a relaxing of the ban. The BSA membership as a whole, on the other hand, continues to support the current situation.