Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) proposed lifting its ban on gay Scouts and leaders, but a swift backlash — particularly from Mormon-funded chapters in Utah — delayed action. On Friday, the BSA announced a proposal that would lift the ban on gay Scouts, but maintain the ban on gay leaders. This proposal would have to receive approval from the roughly 1,400 voting members of the Scouts’ National Council when it meets the week of May 20.
The Scouts conducted surveys of its members in order to determine the best way forward on the controversial anti-gay policies and based its proposal on these results. An internal survey from last year found that an overwhelming number of people felt the measure “negatively impacted their loyalty.”
Though allowing gay Scouts is an important step forward, continuing to ban gay adult leaders is particularly problematic. It is an acquiescence to conservatives’ claims that gay leaders are a threat to children’s safety, an assumption that reinforces false stereotypes that gay people are more likely to be pedophiles.