Openly gay youngsters will be allowed to join the Boy Scouts of America as beginning New Year’s Day, a controversial change supported by 60% of the 1,400 voting members of the organization’s National Council.
Yet, while “youths can no longer be barred from the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or coed Venturers programs solely based on sexual orientation,” certain limitations will be imposed on gay scouts.
“Any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual by youth of Scouting age is contrary to virtues of Scouting,” according to one BSA document. In addition, rules state that “No member may use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda, including on the matters of sexual orientation.” This means (among other things) that Scouts will be forebidden to wear their uniforms while participating in gay pride parades, etc.
Other matters now being looked into concern shower and toilet facilities, which are expected to change from “group participation” into areas offering more individual privacy. In addition, sleeping arrangements will be left to the discretion of troop leaders.
“If a Scout or parent of a Scout makes a request not to tent with another Scout, their wishes should be honored,” stated the BSA.
It should also be noted, that while openly gay boys will now be welcomed to join the Boy Scouts, openly gay adults will still be barred from being leaders.