A desert representative of the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group applauded a decision Monday by the Boy Scouts of America to end the ban against gay adult leaders, but said the Scouts did not go far enough.
The Scouts’ executive board voted to approve a resolution to allow gays to serve as troop leaders, volunteers and employees. Troops sponsored by faith-based organizations will still have the right to exclude gays for a leadership post.
“We’re pleased that the organization’s leaders see how out of step they’ve become with the rest of the country,” said George Zander, field manager for Equality California, the LGBT advocacy group. But “The discrimination is still there. The loop hole to allow (faith-based charters) to create their own criteria leads to discrimination.”
“LGBT people have always been a part of scouting, both as scouts and as adult leaders, whether they’ve been open about it or not,” he said.
The Boy Scouts of America Monday granted individual Scout units the ability to select leaders without regard to sexual orientation.
The resolution comes two years after the organization lifted a ban prohibiting openly gay youth from participating, but failed to lift the ban that barred gay scout leaders.
Justin Wilson, community director of Scouts for Equality, a national organization composed of Boy Scouts of America alumni dedicated to ending the Scouts’ ban on gay members and leaders, said “Although there’s more work to be done, it’s a huge step in the right direction in creating a more inclusive scouting program.”
The Human Rights Campaign, another LGBT civil rights organization, echoed the sentiments.
“Today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual adults to work and volunteer is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization,” Chad Griffin, the group’s president said in a press release.
“But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today’s decision. Discrimination should have no place in the Boy Scouts, period.” Griffin said.
Mauricio Pena is the Immigration and Equality reporter at the Desert Sun. Mauricio can be reached by phone at (760) 778-4643, or by email at email@example.com.