Yesterday the Boy Scouts of America voted to end their longstanding policy of excluding openly gay boys from their membership. They will continue to exclude LGBT adults from their leadership. You may recall that I wrote a pretty strongly worded post in opposition to this policy proposal back in April when it was first made public. I even bolded words to make them more angry sounding. In light of the decision, I reread that post this morning and have come to a couple conclusions.
I was right about some things, but a little too angry about others. The measure does not go far enough. On this point I stand firmly. To allow gay members, but not allow gay leaders, the policy is not only contradictory in nature, it is still offensive. But yet…
I concluded in the piece that the Boy Scout Council purposefully chose a half measure to feign an insincere interest in being more inclusive, but was actually trying to incite anger from progressive parents. According to my last piece, the BSA Council was doing this so that they could collectively shrug their shoulders and say "See we tried. We just can't reason with these people." I further predicted that the measure would be defeated.
I was obviously wrong on at least one accord, and admittedly overreached on the other. The vote passed, and the BSA Council was most likely not trying to sabotage it. Looking at the 60% that voted for approval, I have to admit that they were most likely trying to save it. The BSA did extensive, private polling of their membership before writing the proposal. Now that I am a bit more calm, and have the gift of hindsight, I am inclined to believe that the BSA wrote a proposal they knew would not only pass, but would pass with enough of a margin to provide a mandate moving forward.
So where does that leave us? Where does it leave the BSA? Where does it leave me and my boy? Well , this has been a pretty heated topic of discussion between my buddies and I since the whole thing began. And through multiple discussions with people I love, and whose opinions I respect (even when we don't agree on everything) here is where I've landed.
This is a good thing. There is a reason that progress is the root of the word progression. It is a continuum, and the BSA has taken a noteworthy step. There will undoubtedly be an exodus of far right members of the BSA now, and it will most likely hurt the BSA. If we want to help save this organization and continue to support its progression towards full acceptance of LGBTQ people, then we need to step in and fill the void left by the far right folk who are leaving.
As someone who has not always been a great friend to the LGBTQ community, I can honestly say that the best way to bring people over to our side is to get to know them and show how alike we all really are.
So there you have it. I've caved a little since my last post, but my resolve stands strong to work towards the change that is right. For now, my boy will be a Boy Scout someday (if he wants to). Granted, they still have seven years to muff things up, but yesterday's decision, the one that had me fuming a month ago, now has me feeling a little more optimistic. 60% is a lot of percent. Now let's get the other 40!
Love, Dad (John)