Calling it “absolutely the best policy,” the Boy Scouts of American on Tuesday said it plans to keep in place its controversial policy banning gay scouts and scout leaders, following a confidential two-year review.
The BSA ruled out reversing the anti-gay policy, despite online campaigns by gay rights advocates and advocacy groups, reported the Associated Press.
An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts,” the organization’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.
Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
As a result of the committee’s decision, the Scouts’ national executive board will take no further action on a recently submitted resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.Associateed Press, via CBS News
Last month, the Boy Scouts said the organization was considering a resolution proposed at the group’s annual meeting in May that called for ending the policy. But the decision announced Tuesday means the Scouts’ board will take no further action on that resolution, Smith said.
On May 30, LGBT advocate Zach Wahls — an Eagle Scout and the son of lesbian parents — accompanied by officials from Change.org, delivered a petition containing more than 275,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts, asking for the reinstatement of Jennifer Tyrrell, a volunteer den mother from Ohio who was ousted from the group in April because she is lesbian.
Wahls denounced what he said was “the secretive nature surrounding how this conclusion was reached” and called the announcement “old news.”
“This is a missed opportunity of colossal proportions,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign.
“With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued. These adults could have taught the next generation of leaders the value of respect, yet they’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance,” said Griffin, in a statement.
Tuesday’s announcement comes despite efforts by BSA executive board members James Turley, Ernst & Young CEO, and Randall Stephenson, AT&T CEO, who recently indicated they would try to work from within to change the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy. Both of their companies have been commended by gay-rights groups for gay-friendly employment policies.