The Boy Scouts of America will continue to deny membership to gay scouts and scout leaders, saying the policy would protect the rights of families that prefer to address issues of sexuality in private.
The decision was the result of a two-year evaluation by the organisation prompted by repeated rancour over the policy, both for and against, with celebrities, chief executives and boy scout activists weighing in.
“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” said Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive of Boy Scouts of America.
“While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society,” he said.
The study, begun in 2010, was conducted by a committee of volunteers and professional leaders that reflected “a diversity of perspectives and opinions”, the organisation said.
No further action would be taken on the matter, the statement said.
The Boy Scouts of America in 2000 won a 5-4 US Supreme Court ruling allowing the organisation to ban gays whose conduct, the Boy Scouts argued, violated its values.
As upheld by the Supreme Court, the Boy Scouts of America have the right to decide who can join their organisation.
However I think their decision is a stupid one, which undermines the superb programmes and leadership skills that the scouting movement can instill in young people. I say this as someone who spent 20 years in the NZ scouting movement, and even attended a World Scout Conference.
The NZ Scout Association has not had a ban on gay members for literally decades. It just simply isn’t an issue in NZ. Many outstanding Scout leaders in New Zealander are gay. The BSOA risk being marginalised and over time will find fewer and fewer companies, organisations and individuals willing to associate with them, because of a stupid arbitrary ban.