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Head of Boy Scouts of America calls for an end to ban on gay adults

Head of Boy Scouts of America calls for an end to ban on gay adults

Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates said today that the organization can no longer ban openly gay adults.

Gates, a former US Secretary of Defense, said at the BSA’s annual meeting in Atlanta: ‘I must speak as plainly and bluntly to you as I spoke to presidents when I was Director of CIA and Secretary of Defense. We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.’

The BSA decided to finally ended its ban on openly gay scouts in 2013 but the ban continues once a scout reaches the age of 18 and applies to adults leaders and employees of the organization.

Gates did not ask the national board to take any action at this meeting but said that moving forward they cannot ignore ‘the social, political and juridicial changes taking place in our country – changes taking place at a pace over this past year no one anticipated.’

He pointed to the pending US Supreme Court gay marriage cases that could decide the issue for the nation and to the furious debates in Indiana and Arkansas where religious freedom bills sought to make it legal for private businesses to discrimination against LGBTI people.

Gates also said the BSA might simply be ordered by the courts to change the policy.

Former Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, who has two moms, welcomed Gates’ remarks.

‘Dr. Gates has built his reputation on straight talk and tough decisions,’ Wahls tells the Associated Press.

Wahls, head of Scouts for Equality, adds: ‘It seems like the Boy Scouts will continue an internal dialogue about the subject and that a change within the next year or two is imminent.’