Boy Scouts of America may end long-time policy of banning gays

Updated
An Eagle Scout patch is pictured in Orlando, Florida.
An Eagle Scout patch is pictured in Orlando, Florida.
File Photo by David Manning/Reuters

The Boy Scouts of America has told NBC News that the organization is considering an end to their longstanding policy of banning LGBT scout or scout leaders. Once approved by the youth organization’s board of directors, the new policy would allow local troops to decide whether to admit gay scouts.

“Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.  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,” according to Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ national organization, responding to a question from NBC’s Pete Williams.

Individual sponsors and parents “would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families,” Smith said.

According to scouting officials, the organization is reaching a final decision on a potential change in policy. The Boy Scouts of America’s national board is scheduled to meet next week and could make an announcement afterwards.

Most recently, a Cub Scout troop in Maryland adopted a non-discrimination policy that extended their membership guidelines to the LGBT community. After receiving pressure from the National Capital Area Council of the BSA, the pack was forced to remove its non-discrimination policy in order to keep the pack’s charter.

Les Baron, CEO and Scout Executive of NCAC, confirmed to Mother Jones that if the pack did not erase the declaration, “they will not be recognized as an organization, although that’s our last resort.” The troop would have lost access to member insurance, rank badges, and scout camps.

Last summer, the Boy Scouts of America upheld their ban on LGBT scouts and family members following a two-year confidential review. Since their decision, the organization’s biggest financial donors ended their relationship with their group due to their anti-gay policy.

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Boy Scouts of America may end long-time policy of banning gays

Updated