After more than 100 years, a lot of soul searching, intense national debates, and input from churches, politicians and the Supreme Court, the Boy Scouts of America voted to abolish the century-old ban prohibiting homosexual boys from entering the largest children’s organization.
More than 60 percent of the Council of 1,400 delegates voted to end the ban on gay members. The issue of gay scout leaders was not taken under consideration nor vote so the ban is still in place for adults.
The response to the lifting of the ban on gay members was immediate and just as intense as the debate itself. For example, one of the Southern Baptist Church leaders, Dr. Frank Page, begged the Boy Scouts not to change the policy. But The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints – the BSA’s biggest charter partner – had given tacit endorsement to the plan.
And there was a plethora of other wide-ranging responses:
Zach Wahls of Scouts for Equality had this to say: “Scouts for Equality is honored to be a part of the movement that has achieved a tremendous victory towards the fight for equality in America and we are proud to call ourselves Scouts. We look forward to the day where we can celebrate inclusion of all members,” he said.
Rusty Tisdale, assistant Scoutmaster for a troop in Ellisville, Miss., on the other hand, was angry: “I’m not happy as a parent,” Tisdale emailed to NBC News. He hopes there is a local option that would allow the decision on gay members to be made at the troop level. Otherwise, he will pull his kids.”The gay activist isn’t happy and will not be until homosexuals can be leaders, etc. So there will be more pressure, and more fighting, And more acquiescence. No thanks.”
GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro was elated: “The Boy Scouts of America heard from religious leaders, corporate sponsors and so many Scouting families who want an end to discrimination against gay people, and GLAAD will continue this work with those committed to equality in Scouting until gay parents and adults are able to participate.”
David Metcalf, 55, is pulling his his son Sean Metcalf, a 13-year-old Star Scout with Troop 226, from nearby McKinney, Texas, came to Grapevine to hear the results of the vote. The troop is chartered by Peach, a Christian homeschool organization.”We’re very disappointed,” he said. “I will compare it to a funeral.”