Today, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America chose to postpone until May a vote that could have lifted their exclusionary policy toward having gays and lesbians in the organization.
While I am disappointed that the Boy Scouts of America have yet to end their national membership ban with regard to participation of boys, men and parents who are gay, I remain hopeful while this action continues to be considered. This anti-gay discriminatory policy is antithetical to the purpose and values of Scouting and its removal would be a good step in the right direction.
Surely the BSA will reclaim their original values of dignity and respect for all persons one day; the writing is on the wall.
Family, church, school and Scouting all helped form my character, values and life. I was a Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Explorer Scout achieving the Order of the Arrow rank. Both of my parents were Scout leaders, active in the the Parent Teacher Association in our local schools and served in our local Presbyterian church. My Mom was our Den Leader when I was a Cub Scout and my Dad served as a troop advisor when I was a Boy Scout. I loved the camping and rafting trips. I learned respect for all persons, to love nature and the value of community service as a Scout. I am also gay.
Removal of this national anti-gay ban will affirm the moral neutrality of a Scout's sexual orientation.
As we've come to respect racial and ethnic differences within Scouting and in our country, the BSA will arrive at a more informed understanding of sexual orientation and gay persons. The Boy Scouts of America will someday join the Girl Scouts and the fast-growing number of other institutions that treat LGBT persons with respect instead of prejudice.
Beyond the experiences of Scouting, the removal of this national ban will also teach boys and young men who they are and how they should treat other persons. Surely when the right decision is made it will help reduce bullying, foster friendships across human differences and build compassionate, effective leaders for our nation and world.