The Boy Scouts of America have decided Wednesday to delay a possible change of their current anti-gay policy. According to the Associated Press, the Boy Scouts said it needed more time for consultations as the organization have been faced with an intense amount of pressure from both sides of the issue.
The possible changes in the policy include allowing gays as scouts and leaders and allowing sponsors of local troops to decide for themselves on gay membership.
Brad Hankins, campaign director of Scouts for Equality feels that all the delay would do is further instill uncertainly in current Scouts and leaders who may be gay.
“By postponing this decision, thousands of currently active Scouts still remain uncertain about their future in the program and are shamed into silence. We understand that this change is a huge paradigm shift for some, but this isn’t a religious issue. It’s simply one of human morality, and that is something common to all faiths.”
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign also weighed in on the delay stating that each day the Boy Scouts puts off their decision is another day of discrimination and that “young Americans, gay and straight, are hurt by the inaction associated with today’s news.”
But those against reversal of the ban believe continuing the affirmation of the ban is actually a way of protecting Scout members. Supporters of the ban rallied outside of BSA headquarters on Wednesday carrying such signs that read, “Don’t invite sin into the camp” and some troop leaders are threatening to shut down their troops. One scoutmaster actually went as far as to say that allowing gays into the Scouts would be like mixing boys and girls.
The issue of the Boy Scouts ban has even drifted into the political arena. On Saturday Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is a former Eagle Scout, stated that he didn’t think the policy on banning gays should be changed. Perry told reporters:
“Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make Scouting this very important and impactful organization. I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I.”
But President Barack Obama disagreed stating that the Scouts should be open to gay members.
“My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life. The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives. And I think nobody should be barred from that.”
Leadership and opportunity seems to be what is taken away with the current ban. Those against lifting the ban seem to have a misunderstanding on exactly what being gay is. Being gay involves being a person of courage and strength. Being gay involves overcoming odds to stand tall as individuals. These are attributes encouraged by no other than the Boy Scouts of America.