As the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) reconsiders a ban on gay members, a new HuffPost/YouGov poll revealed on Monday that a plurality of Americans favor ending the ban.
The survey shows 48 percent of Americans think BSA should allow gay members, and only 32 percent say the group should not. Respondents were much more divided over whether the Boy Scouts should allow gay scout leaders -44 percent oppose and 41 percent support having gay Boy Scouts leaders.
In the survey, respondents who had once been members of the Girl Scouts were even more likely to say that the Boy Scouts should allow gay members, with 57 percent of former Girl Scouts saying they should and 23 percent saying they should not.
The Girl Scouts have been quicker than the Boy Scouts to embrace LGBT children, including accepting a 7-year-old transgender girl in Colorado in 2011.
Women (44 percent to 39 percent) and former Girl Scouts (51 percent to 36 percent) were more likely to say gay Boy Scout leaders should be a permitted.
The difference among those groups may be explained by their mission. The Girls Scout embrace diversity as a core value.
Diversity has been a core value of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. At a time of segregation and before laws promoting civil rights were passed, our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, ensured that African-American, American Indian and Hispanic girls were able to become Girl Scouts. She led efforts to make Girl Scouting available to girls who lived in rural and urban areas, to girls who were rich, middle class and poor, and to girls who were born in this country as well as immigrants.
President Barack Obama said Sunday that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable and that gays should also be allowed in Boy Scouts.
President Obama on Sunday said discrimination of any kind is unacceptable and urged the Boy Scouts to drop their ban on gay members, saying that “nobody should be barred” from the organization.
The Boy Scouts of America is expected to vote this week on whether or not to end the national ban on admitting gay members and scout masters—a ban that the organization had reinforced only seven months ago.