A decades-old policy that has sparked numerous controversies may soon come to an end, as the Boy Scouts of America, or BSA, on Monday announced it is close to ending its ban on gay scouts or leaders.
The new policy being considered would remove the ban from the national organization’s rules. However, local chapters will retain the freedom to consider whether to allow gay scouts within their members.
“Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation,” wrote Deron Smith, BSA's director of public relations. “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families.”
This a big step for the organization that last July, stood firm on its ban on homosexuals, reaffirming that it was “absolutely the best policy” for the BSA, more than 100 years after being formulated.
A month prior, the youth development organization faced heavy scrutiny for dismissing den mother Jennifer Tyrell from her 7-year-old son’s Tiger Cub pack in April because of her sexual orientation. A petition was uploaded to change.org demanding that Tyrell be reinstated.