The Boy Scouts of America‘s 1400 member National Council this afternoon in Grapevine, Texas voted to allow gay boys into the 103-year old private, faith-based organization. The contentious decision was reached after years of attempts by LGBT activists and allies, and was fought by religious and secular anti-gay organizations and hate groups. The resolution passed by a wide margin, 61-31.
According to GLAAD — who has been working for over a year on this issue — over 60 percent of all Americans believe gay youth and teens should be able to be a part of Scouting.
Recently, many public figure have spoken in favor of including gays in Scouting, and even GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who had lead the organization years ago, announced last year he believed gays should be allowed into the organization. Earlier this week, popular talk show host Dr. Phil announced his support for gay youth in Scouting, and even the president of the Boy Scouts of America voiced his support in a USA Today op-ed.
The National Council, comprised of members of 270 Boy Scout councils nationwide, did not vote on allowing gay adults into Scouting. In his op-ed, BSA President Wayne Perry claimed “it was clear from our listening phase that changing adult standards would have conflicted with the majority of our partners, 70% of which are religious organizations, and would have disrupted our ability to deliver Scouting.”
Perry’s reason to not even put the prospect of gay adults in Scouting, the belief that a large number of Scout groups would close, is compromised by the fact that in 2010, one in seven Fortune 500 corporations each donated at least $10,000 to the Boy Scouts of America in 2010 despite the organization’s longtime ban of gays and lesbians — but that practice has since changed dramatically. Now, many large corporate donors will support only Boy Scout councils that include gays, leaving funding drying up for those who do not. “The decision takes effect Jan. 1, 2014. The group will continue to ban gay adult leaders. A task force to help with the implementation was already been created,” the Dallas Voice reported.
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