Boy Scouts of America end gay scout ban: The Church of England Newspaper, June 2, 2013, p 7. June 12, 2013Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of North America, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue, The Episcopal Church.
Tags: Boy Scouts of America
The national council of the Boy Scouts of America has voted to permit scout troops to enroll gay members, but has upheld a ban on homosexual scout masters.
On 23 May 2013, the 1400 delegates to the BSA’s national council meeting in Grapevine, Texas voted by a margin of 61 per cent to 39 per cent to rescind its ban and allow a local option on gay scouts.
“This has been a challenging chapter in our history,” the BSA chief executive, Wayne Brock, said after the vote. “While people have differing opinions on this policy, kids are better off when they’re in Scouting.”
Thursday’s vote was presented as a compromise between the existing policy and calls by gay activists to end the ban on gay boys and adults. After the vote the BSA released a statement saying it did not condone any sexual activity by scouts and did not want to be drawn into the political battle over homosexuality. “The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive and unresolved societal issue,” it said in a statement.
America’s churches, which sponsor over 70 per cent of scout troops were divided over the vote. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints said it had supported the change but the Southern Baptist Convention said it was opposed.
“We are deeply saddened,” said Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee. “Homosexual behavior is incompatible with the principles enshrined in the Scout oath and Scout law.”
On 27 March 2013 the Most Rev, Robert Duncan, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America wrote to the chief scout executive and national president of the BSA voicing opposition to the proposed change.
“In consideration of the proposed membership policy change allowing sponsors of scouting units to determine their own membership guidelines with regard to sexual orientation, please know that the policy of the Anglican Church in North America does not support homosexual activity. Consequently, we would not support this change in our scouting troops,” Archbishop Duncan said.
Writing in the Washington Post’s On Faith section last week the Rev. Susan Russell urged change. “It is time to refuse to allow what is best about Scouting to be held hostage by homophobia. It is time to stop being blackmailed into bigotry by the increasingly strident voices from the fringe who insist that continued discrimination is their price tag for participation. It is time for equality.”
The prominent Episcopal Church gay activist noted the Episcopal Church supported lifting the ban. “We have been having this discussion for a very long time. Over a decade ago at its 2000 General Convention, the Episcopal Church adopted a resolution to ‘Encourage the Boy Scouts of America to allow membership to youth and adult leaders irrespective of their sexual orientation’.”