Ever since its Supreme Court case against James Dale in the year 2000, the Boy Scouts of America has been one of the biggest national institutions to exclude gay people from holding any kind of leadership role. After 15 years of controversy, one of the BSA’s key leadership committees unanimously voted on Monday to end their ban of gay scoutmasters.
The vote means that an official decision will be voted on by the full executive board on July 27, but the vote has been recognized by many as a significant move. Before 2014, scouts who came out publicly as gay could only remain until their 18th birthday, after which they could no longer participate or pursue Eagle scout status.
Beyond permitting gay or bisexual adults to work with BSA, the resolution will allow previously-removed leaders to apply for their former positions. Individual troops will also be allowed to determine its own eligibility policies concerning gay leaders, while the national body will block non-troop organizations and regional governing bodies from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and the Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, said that while the BSA’s move still left some work to be done, “it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement.”
[Image via Jarekt Tuszynski]
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