UCC calls inclusivity of Boy Scouts of America ‘a long time coming’
The Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adult Scout leaders and volunteers is about to go away, and United Church of Christ advocates say it’s about time.
“The unanimous vote of the Executive Committee of the Boys Scouts to allow gay adults to serve as Scout leaders is a strong indication that the change we have been seeking is going to happen,” said the Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, UCC executive for health and wholeness advocacy. “It has been a long time coming and we are mindful of the scores of youth and adults who have been harmed over the years because of the policies of exclusion. I join the voices of United Church of Christ pastors, leaders and members across the country, the UCC General Synod and the many other faith and secular partners who have worked for this change to urge passage of this resolution by the full board of the Boy Scouts on July 27. It is long past due.”
A BSA executive committee unanimously voted to get rid of the organization’s ban on gay leaders on Monday, July 13, moving toward inclusion for adults as well as youth.
The policy change allowing gay Scout leaders to serve will be voted on by the BSA National Executive Board July 27, and, if passed, should take effect immediately.
Under the new resolution, local scout units would be able to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation — a position that several Scout councils have already adopted.
“This change allows Scouting’s members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families,” the BSA statement said. “This change would also respect the right of religious chartered organizations to continue to choose adult leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.”
In addition to allowing gay or bisexual adults to work and volunteer in the BSA, the resolution allows previously removed leaders to apply for their former positions. It also allows each individual troop or unit to determine its own eligibility policies concerning gay leaders. The BSA board lifted the ban on openly-gay youth serving in the program on Jan. 1, 2014.
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