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Boy Scouts of America to vote today to end ban on gay leaders

Boy Scouts of America to vote today to end ban on gay leaders

Boy Scout

The Boy Scouts of America is expected to vote today to end its blanket ban on gay scout leaders.

Last month, the National Committee of the Boy Scouts of America unanimously approved a resolution allowing openly gay and bisexual adults to serve as employees and volunteers.

The resolution is today due to be ratified by the BSA’s governing body.

At the time last month’s resolution was passed, Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and the Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, praised the development.

‘For decades, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has stood as a towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia in one of America’s most important and recognizable civic organizations.’

However, even if the ban is lifted, it does not mean that gay Scout leaders will be welcome in all groups. The change in policy would allow Christian chartered groups to choose leaders ‘whose beliefs are consistent with their own.’

‘There are differences of opinion, and we need to be respectful of them,’ said Michael Harrison, a businessman and advocate of change who led the Boy Scouts in Orange County, California, to the New York Times.

‘It doesn’t mean the Mormons have to pick a gay scoutmaster, but please don’t tell the Unitarians they can’t.’

The former ban by the US Scout movement has been increasingly criticized in recent years. In 2013, it removed the ban on gay youths becoming scouts, but the ban on adults remained.

In May of this year, former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is now volunteer President of the Boy Scouts of America, said that the ban on gay adults ‘cannot be sustained.’

As well as being due to remove the ban on gay leaders, the governing body will also vote on ending discrimination based on sexual orientation in all official scouting facilities and paying jobs across the country – a move that some commentators believe it is taking to avoid potential lawsuits.

The Boy Scouts of America voting meeting is due to take place at 10am EST. In the countdown to today’s vote, Scouts for Equality have highlighted many of the individuals who have been affected by the ban.