Boy Scouts Vote To Allow Gay Youth, Homosexual Adult Leaders Still Banned

Boy Scouts
Officials managed to recover four missing Boy Scouts from the 110-degree heat near White Rock Canyon, but the group's leader, Clawson Bowman Jr., died after suffering from heatstroke. Reuters

The Boy Scouts of America voted Thursday to re-open the group's doors to gay youth, but the ban on homosexual adult leaders still stands.

The vote was tallied from more than 1,400 members of the BSA's annual national council meeting in Grapevine, Texas, and it brings an end to a ban on gay participants in the Boy Scouts of America that has stood for 22 years.

The Huffington Post reported that 61 percent of the members voted to allow gay scouts, while 38 percent voted against lifting the ban.

"No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone," the resolution passed Thursday states, according to CNN.

"The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting," the BSA said in a statement.

The ban on gay scouts and leaders was instituted in 1991 when the organization determined that gay people were not living in accordance with the Boy Scouts of America oath, which asks that scouts be "physically strong, mentally alert and morally straight."

The point of contention was with the "morally straight" clause, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the ban was constitutional in a case featuring a gay Boy Scout leader named James Dale, who was barred from serving as a leader in a New Jersey troop in 1990 because of his sexuality.

The California Supreme Court also upheld the ban in 1998, when it ruled that it was acceptable for a troop there to ban a gay youth Scout named Tim Curran after it emerged that he had taken another young man to his high school prom.

USA Today reports that opinion on the matter of whether or not gay scouts should be allowed to participate in Scouts is shifting at a fast rate, as on May 9, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that 63 percent of Americans supported lifting the ban, as compared with 42 percent in a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted just a year ago.

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