Honoring the True Spirit of Scouting

Last month Boy Scouts of America put into consideration lifting their discriminatory ban on gay scouts and leaders. Boy Scouts of America, with over 100 million members, is one of the largest known to date youth organizations in the United States. If the policy does go into effect it will become one of the most profound changes in U.S history. The decision concerning membership and leadership will be up to each organization.

The decision to change its policy is could come as early as May. The national executive board of BSA called it “the best policy for the organization.” But according to the New York Times, just last summer, the ban on homosexuality was the best policy for the Boy Scouts. The United States Supreme Court once upheld the right of the BSA to exclude homosexuals.

Beginning decades ago,
BSA stood their ground for keeping homosexuals out. As change continues to occur in our generation, more and more people have begun to take a stand on this policy. According to an article by Diana Reese from the Washington Post, BSA’s membership rates have decreased, and companies such as The Merck Company Foundation, Intel Foundation, UPS and United Way postponed some donations due to the anti- gay policy according to the Washington Post.

Support for gay rights is constantly becoming a growing trend. According to an article from the New York Daily News, Eagle Scouts, ‘the most esteemed rank in the Boy Scouts of America,’ are returning their hard-earned medals to protest the organizations ban of gay scouts leaders. Chris Baker from Minneapolis decided to turn in his badge after seeing a Facebook post from a scout who also did the same. Baker told the Daily News, “Let’s do this. Let’s drown them with returned Eagle Scout medals to show them they are wrong. As a Boy Scout I was taught that it was wrong to exclude people, whether based on race, physical ability, or sexual orientation.”

This will lead to some controversy. How did the BSA all of a sudden come to this decision to address this policy? We now live in a generation where equality is important and any sexual orientation is accepted. For BSA to even consider lifting its ban is yet another progression that will mark a significant change in history. “This is no more a step in the right direction than was “don’t ask, don’t tell” or civil unions”, says Eileen McNamara from cognoscenti.org. Those policies hailed as progress 20 years ago, only institutionalized the denial of equal rights to gay people in the military and in marriage”.

BSA will face intense criticism from both directions. Many campaigns have advocated that the BSA adopt this nationwide policy to accept homosexuals as leaders.

If this policy does go into effect it will be marked as a milestone in history. No one should be turned away from leading, scouting or anything of the sort based on his sexual orientation. Just like the military’s “don’t ask don’t tell”, everyone should be appointed with equal opportunity. “Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well”, says President Barack Obama at the inauguration January 21, 2013.

 

Carleesha is a junior and a Communication major.