Bowing to pressure from corporate sponsors to wake up and smell the 21st Century, the national organization for the Boy Scouts of America may vote as soon as this Wednesday to lift their ban on gay members and allow local groups to decided whether or not to admit LGBT youths to their troops.
Predictably, the usual suspects on the right have chimed with cries of alarm, specifically the Bad News Ricks of the GOP, Perry and Santorum. The Texas Governor said that “to have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate.”1 The former Pennsylvania senator and momentary GOP frontrunner was even more alarmist, calling the move a result of a “war” on scouting and suggesting the scouting may not even survive this change. He added, “I hope the board of the Scouts doesn’t have its fingerprints on the murder weapon.”2
The two Republicans show they are well out of step with American sentiment, which supports lifting the ban 48 to 32 percent.3 But that is not even the most relevant issue. The fact is that lifting the ban will not mean there will be suddenly be gay Boy Scouts. They have always been there, just like there were gay and lesbian military personnel for as long as American has had a military. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” did nothing to change that. This change will allow gay scouts to be open about who they really are rather than being forced to hide it just to pursue what for many has been an American rite of passage.
More importantly, this charge will permit the emergence of Scout troops that are accepting of LGBT members without having to defy the national body.