Last summer, Ernst & Young CEO James Turley became one of the first members of the Boy Scouts of America national board to speak out against the organization’s policy banning gay Scouts. Now that the Scouts are preparing to consider allowing gay Scouts (but not leaders), Turley has doubled down on his position, adding that he’s disappointed the Scouts will continue to discriminate:
TURLEY: The Boy Scouts is a member- and volunteer-driven organization. That’s part of our strength, but it’s also a challenge when it comes to making change. This was an issue in the corporate world a dozen years ago. The difference is that, as a leader, you can say who we are, this is who we’re going to be, and let’s move forward. When we decided to offer domestic partner benefits to LGBT employees, I didn’t have to ask for a vote. The reality is that most of our partners were middle-aged white guys, and it probably wouldn’t have passed.
I wish we’d gone further this time. I hoped it would have been more. But this is a substantial and significant change. There will be another vote in late May, and I’m hopeful and optimistic that some change will take place. I do not think that this should or will be the end of the debate.
Turley’s clear implication is that continuing to discriminate against Scout leaders is the wrong thing to do, and it’s only because of the insistence of other members of the national board that the proposed change is limited. Scouts across the country are speaking out against it for the arbitrary way it removes gay Scouts after they reach the age of 18. Regardless of how the vote turns out this month, the fight for full inclusion in an otherwise worthwhile organization for young people will continue.