This morning, the Boy Scouts of America responded to media reports about its membership policy.
Follow the jump for the full text of the news release:
Contrary to media reports, the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to change its membership policy. The introduction of a resolution does not indicate the organization is “reviewing” a policy or signal a change in direction.
In April, a single individual submitted a resolution asking the Boy Scouts to consider amending its policy on not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals. The resolution asked that the policy be amended to allow local units to determine their own standards.
Scouting’s voting members may submit resolutions, which represent that individual’s personal viewpoint, for consideration at the national annual business meeting. As directed by its bylaws, on May 31, the BSA assigned the resolution to a committee that will consider the resolution and present a report to the National Executive Board.
Resolutions and petitions on this subject are not unique and go back as far as 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed this matter, and have been widely covered in the media since that time. In addition, in the past individuals have submitted resolutions asking the BSA to reaffirm its current policy. Those resolutions were handled in the same manner.
The introduction of a resolution is procedural and handled with respect but does not indicate the organization is “reviewing a policy” or signal a change in direction.
Completely unrelated to the introduction of this resolution, on May 27, an online petition asked the Boy Scouts to meet with a spokesperson from the group circulating the petition and accept signatures generated from the online petition, which asked the BSA to change its policy.
While it was not on the Boy Scouts’ national business meeting agenda, out of courtesy and respect for differing viewpoints, the BSA accepted the petition during a private meeting. This meeting to accept the petition was not related in any way to the introduction of the resolution.
The BSA policy is: “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.
The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.