For as long as I’ve been aware of the Boy Scouts of America’s draconian rules that disallowed openly gay youths from taking part, I’ve had a serious issue with the organization. So I was delighted to hear that, starting on New Year’s Day, they will begin accepting gay kids. But as great as it is, the victory feels a little hollow, considering how long it’s taken to get to this point.
The decision has sparked some concerns on issues of tent-mates and showering, as well as fears over the “complication” of scouts potentially marching in gay pride parades. Because marching in a parade is apparently a terrible thing (but only if it’s a GAY parade, obv).
Despite these concerns, Boy Scout leaders are hoping that the change will go smoothly and any fears will be unfounded. According to BSA national executive board member Brad Haddock, who chaired the policy implementation committee:
“My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare. It’s business as usual, nothing happens and we move forward.”
But any major move forward comes with backlash. Some churches are dropping their sponsorships and there are reports of families switching to a new “conservative,” (ie: hateful) alternative called Trail Life USA. Thankfully the huge defections that some conservatives predicted have yet to materialize and the majority of sponsors have remained supportive, including the Catholic church and the Mormon church.
“There hasn’t been a whole lot of fallout,” said Haddock, “If a church said they wouldn’t work with us, we’d have a church right down the street say, `We’ll take the troop.”‘
The news isn’t all good though. The BSA will continue to exclude gay adults from leadership, which I find baffling. Why are gay kids okay, but gay adults not? So, while this is definitely a great development, it’s simply not enough.