The Boy Scouts of America voted yesterday to end some of its discriminatory policies yesterday, lifting a ban on gay kids and teens from joining the organization. Group officials announced the intended shift last month, and the policy was codified yesterday with the support of a majority of the Scouting's National Council.
Some discrimination, however, will persist -- gay young people will be welcome, but gay adults hoping to serve as Scout leaders will still be prohibited. It led to an odd message from the group, effectively saying gay youths are fine, but gay adults are inherently suspect. Yesterday's move, then, was a step in a more just direction, but it is not yet a full breakthrough for equality.
Nevertheless, the outrage from right bordered on hysterical. I enjoyed scrolling through the Twitter feed for Right Wing Watch last night, and was amazed at just how over the top social conservatives' criticism was.
For example, Matt Barber, a lawyer with a group called Liberty Counsel, said the Scouts have become the "latest formerly honorable institution to crumble" under the "homofascist agenda." The American Family Associations Bryan Fischer added, "BSA now stands for Boy Sodomizers of America, because that's what will happen. Mark my words."
If recent history is any guide, we'll see some kind of far-right boycott and perhaps the formation of some rival Scouting organization. The efforts will fail and in a few years, folks will look back at this moment and wonder what all the fuss was about.