Boy Scouts set cave to donation freezes and end ban on homosexual members, leaders
The Boy Scouts of America is considering dropping a longtime ban on gay members, leaving such membership and leadership decisions up to local sponsors.
“The BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation,” spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement obtained by FoxNews.com. “This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”
Local groups wouldn’t be forced to accept gays. Instead, each troop would be able to decide whether to change their membership policy.
This comes after years of protests of the national policy, including petition campaigns that have prompted some corporations to suspend their donations to the Boy Scouts.
Shipping giant UPS Inc. and drug-manufacturer Merck announced that they were halting donations from their charitable foundations to the Boy Scouts as long as the no-gays policy was in force.
“So if you are a gay scout or a gay leader and you’re not welcome in a troop you have an option, you can go find another troop that is open and welcome,” said Greg Bourke.
Bourke was forced to resign from his position as a local scout leader after he told the organization he is gay.
“You reach a point when you just know you need to do the right thing regardless of the consequences, and I knew that could be one of the consequences and I was prepared to accept that, and I did,” said Bourke.
Bourke started an online petition asking the local council to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy. He believes the proposed policy is a great solution, giving people more flexibility.
If the Boy Scouts’ national board approves, the change could be announced as early as next week.
The BSA, which was founded in 1910, has also excluded atheists throughout its existence. Smith said a change in the policy toward atheists was not being considered, and that the BSA continued to view “Duty to God” as one of its basic principles.
More than 2.6 million scouts and 1 million adults were involved in the BSA in 2012, according to its website.