Boy Scouts try a halfway about-face on gays

The organization would allow gay scouts but continue to ban gay adults from serving as leaders, ensuring continuing controversy.

By Aimee Picchi Apr 19, 2013 3:07PM

Boy Scout uniform (© Stewart Cohen/Photolibrary/Getty Images)The Boy Scouts of America is proposing to lift its ban on openly gay scouts, but it wants to continue barring gays as leaders. 

The scouting organization said it would submit the proposal to its National Council, a group of 1,400 voting members, at a meeting next month, The Associated Press reports.

The decision marks an about-face of sorts for the 103-year-old organization, which had been under pressure from lawmakers and some sponsors such as Chipotle (CMG), which said the ban didn't mesh with their own antidiscrimination policies. 

But by proposing to lift the ban on children only and not for leaders, the organization is likely to face continued pressure for its antigay policies. 

"Congratulations to the Boy Scouts on coming up with a halfway compromise that is just going to annoy everybody," one person wrote on Twitter. Another wrote of the split decision: "How's that make sense?"

While some Scouts and sponsors raised the heat on the Boy Scouts, religious groups privately urged officials to keep the policy, The New York Times reports. Some denominations, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Roman Catholic church, sponsor scouting troops. 

As the Boy Scouts continued supporting the ban, membership has fallen. It lost more than 589,000 registered Cub Scouts since 1998, according to, which tracks news about the Boy Scouts' gay ban. 

In the meantime, one gay-friendly scouting group has surged. Some fed-up scouts have joined Navigators USA, a small group that has an inclusive policy, leading to its membership doubling, reports Mother Jones. Navigators "welcomes all people; boys and girls and adults no matter what gender, race, lifestyle, ability, religious or lack of religious belief," according to its website.

"We knew the Boy Scouts excluded gays when we started, but we thought that was one of the old, outdated rules on its way off the books," Bryan Freed, a father of a scout who switched to a Navigators chapter, told the publication. 

The Boy Scouts of America was also under pressure from lawmakers, with California politicians considering taking away some tax breaks from youth groups that ban gay members. Last year, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed its gay ban, which led to more protests against the organization. 

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.

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Apr 19, 2013 4:21PM
The moral decline of America continues.
Apr 19, 2013 4:38PM
Why don't the libs just organize a homosexual boy/girl club.  
Apr 19, 2013 10:10PM
Looks like the Boy Scouts are bowing to the homosexuals. They slowed down the pedophiles with the Scouts. By not having adults sleep with the children. Now homosexuals will be recruiting little boys in tents.
Apr 20, 2013 1:26AM
As a retired Scout  Master the only way I would ever take a Gay Kid camping is if his father was with him . I'm not going to be sued 10 years later when he says that something happen on a camping trip. Why is it that Gays want to be   different and have their own special laws, but they have to ruin it for other people . If you want to gay great if I don't want my son to be around gays that is my right as a parent. If my son wants to be around gays he can do it when he goes to college . Why is it that they think they should be treated special , news flash to all you gays no one cares  get over it . WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR GAY SONS WHEN NO ADULTS WANT TO BE A  LEADERS AND THEIR OUR NO TROOPS FOR THEM TO JOIN THEN WHAT WILL YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT?
Apr 21, 2013 2:17PM
When  did  'law makers " in the US show any moral clarity in the last 50 years The tyranny of the minority has gone too far. Boy Scouts were never intended to be angels but they had a clearly defined standard of conduct to live a healthy and decent life .and that standard should not be sacrificed for political expediency.
Apr 20, 2013 7:34AM
I'm happy that Navigator provides an alternative, I'll send my son to Boy Scouts,

Navigator might be flourishing because people want to be seen as trendsetters. There may be a few trend setters there but most may only be sheep following the flock. Like it or not, humans are herd/flock animals. One sheep over the cliff and the others follow.

Apr 22, 2013 1:03AM
Their limitation makes sense. You wouldn't want to send your young daughters out camping alone with adult males, even if they were good men. The same should apply to adult lesbians (re: your daughters) and adult gays (re: your sons). This isn't discrimination, it's common sense. 
Apr 21, 2013 6:27PM
More slanted & bias articles as usual from the left.  Of course, the author barely mentioned the strong opposition to change from the Christian members, churches, & organisations that the southern poverty law center has called hate groups.  Same old, same old!
Apr 20, 2013 8:53AM

I see by their website that boy scouts are from 11 to 17 years of age. Just exactly how do you parents decide that your 11 year old is gay ?

Apr 21, 2013 12:41AM
After reading the title, I thought they were talking about a 69.
Apr 21, 2013 7:05PM

It's really strange....That this can become a Liberal / Conservative Issue..


It proves to me, that intelligent levels of Americans or maybe just the Commentors is in real serious decline...?!!!

Apr 20, 2013 11:41AM
Always be suspect of anyone who will group large numbers of people into a category, whether to point out good or bad traits.  People just don't work that way. You have to take them one at a time. That goes for organizations that preach exclusion as opposed to inclusion, which, yes, includes just about all organized religions.

It's good to see the country continues to move toward equality and tolerance.  What was vehemently opposed 50 years ago (racial equality, women's right, single parenting, etc.) is much more the norm and accepted now.  Not where they should be, but we continuing to move there.

I look forward to any well spoken rebuttal. I fear it will be more drivel that is already on this comment board.  How old and tired.

Apr 22, 2013 1:08PM
This is stupid.  Most child molesters are straight men.  If you're that worried that someone will molest your kid either become a better judge of character or keep them at home.  The Boy Scouts are a private organization and can do what they please but let's not conflate bigotry with scientific fact because the two are unrelated.  Also, don't try to straddle the fence.  Either stick to your irrational homophobic guns all the way or drop the policies in question entirely. 
Apr 21, 2013 10:38PM
What a bunch of sicko scumbags on here.  Maybe you're just a bunch of cowardly $$$wipes.
Apr 20, 2013 11:06AM
The boy scouts invented the ****, so what's the big deal? If you're worried about your kid getting molested why would you ever send your kid to a scout troop run by the Catholic Church? I get a laugh out of people who want to bash gay children but will let corrupt bankers and racist politicians (ie most Republicans) off the hook.
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