The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is going to learn the hard way that it is nearly impossible to please everyone all the time. Last week, the BSA announced it will consider a proposal to lift its ban on gay scouts, but not adult leaders.
It is, no doubt, the organization’s way of attempting to find middle ground on a hotly debated issue. In February, the BSA National Executive Board opted not to make a decision on a proposal to lift the ban on openly gay scouts and troop leaders. Instead, they ordered a survey of its members to determine how the scouting community, at large, viewed the issue.
The results of the survey showed an obvious generational gap. Most adults support keeping the status quo, while young parents and teenagers tend to oppose the BSA’s policy of excluding open and avowed homosexuals, both youth members and adult leaders.The national executive board is in a position it doesn’t want to be in and the BSA has responded by proposing an idea that partly addresses the issue while opening the door for additional problems.
Essentially, the proposed solution by the BSA would place an age limit on openly gay members being involved in the scouting community.
There are plenty of scouts who grow up a part of this community and when they become adults and finish the youth program they become assistant troop leaders and move on from there. However, if openly gay leaders are still banned from participating in the Boy Scouts, then gay scouts are told their acceptance in the organization has its limits.
In Los Angeles, some organization leaders are pushing for a proposal to allow anyone, scout or adult leader, to be allowed into scouting as long as they meet the BSA’s standards. The proposal says the focus should be on a person’s conduct, not their sexual orientation.
“In my heart, I know that it is absolutely vital that we include everybody,” said David Meshulam, president of the Boy Scouts’ Los Angeles Area Council. Meshulam is part of the 1,400-member national council that will vote on the national proposal in Dallas, TX next month.
The Los Angeles Area Council is just one of several councils in Southern California and not every council leader views the issue the same way. However, there is a clear division on the issue that is not likely to be settled after the national council vote next month.