Yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America lifted the ban on gay adult leaders, a long-overdue move that was not-so subtly foreshadowed by president Robert Gates over the weekend. “For far too long this issue has divided and distracted us,” he declared. “Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good.”
So how did we get here? As formerly fired troop leaders return to work (in some places), it’s a good time to figure out what helped instigate and usher in this tremendous sea change.
Below, we offer five key ingredients that aided in lifting the BSA ban.
One of the reasons the equality movement has advanced so rapidly is the simple fact that social media lets people share personal stories with huge audiences at lightning speed. Debunking anti-gay arguments against ending the Boy Scouts ban — namely, that homosexual “conduct” is against the Scout Oath to be “clean in word and deed” — organizations like Scouts for Equality, which recently Tweeted a series of personal stories of men and women who’ve been fired from the BSA, help put a human face on the problem, showing how the BSA’s discriminatory policy has damaged countless lives.