In a historic victory for gay and human rights advocates of America and abroad, the Boy Scouts of America announced today that it will propose a measure at May 20th’s National Council meeting to lift the long-standing ban on gay youth members.
The move is a response to unprecedented progressive pressure on the BSA exerted by social networks, which helped sway public opinion to the point where the Boy Scouts of America folded under the weight of the public’s ever increasing disapproval of their bigoted and discriminatory practices. Along with their announcement, The BSA revealed that it previously sent out a survey to it’s over 1 million members, to which respondents answered that they supported the current policy of excluding gays by a margin of 61% to 34%, while a majority of younger parents and teens opposed the policy.
For the first time in the 103 year history of the Boy Scouts of America, American gays and lesbians will be able to take part in an organization that is as American as apple pie, but for over a century inexplicably decided to discriminate against young boys and girls that wanted nothing more than the same chance and opportunity to partake in the organization enjoyed by their heterosexual counterparts.
With this decision, the BSA will take a giant step forward towards making up for their past discrimination and turning a new page of acceptance and inclusiveness. However, we must maintain the public pressure on them, not only to ensure that the ban is properly lifted, but because the ban is only being lifted for youth members but not gay adult leaders. In explaining their decision to continue discriminating against gay adults, the BSA released a statement, cynically estimating that easing the ban on gay adults could cost widespread defections that would cost the organization 100,000 to 350,000 members. Of course, they failed to mention the fact that no other major organization nor employer in the country(including schools and childcare providers) that deal with young Americans publicly discriminates against gays, nor has had any issues relating to an exodus of young members due to gay acceptance.
Progressives must keep the heat on private corporations, organizations, and public officials in order to bring an appropriate end to the human rights issue of our generation. You can do your part by sharing this and other related articles, making phone calls, and simply getting the word out to friends and family.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.