The Boy Scouts of
Clarifies Membership Policy
June 7, 2012
Contrary to media reports, the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to change its membership policy. The introduction of a resolution does not indicate the organization is "reviewing" a policy or signal a change in direction.
In April, a single individual submitted a resolution asking the Boy Scouts to consider amending its policy on not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals. The
resolution asked that the policy be amended to allow local units to determine their own standards.
Scouting's voting members may submit resolutions, which represent that individual's personal viewpoint, for consideration at the national annual business meeting. As directed by its bylaws, on May 31, the BSA assigned the resolution to a committee that will consider the resolution and present a report to the National Executive Board.
Resolutions and petitions on this subject are
not unique and go back as far as 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed this matter, and have been widely covered in the media since that time. In addition, in the past individuals have submitted resolutions asking the BSA to reaffirm its current policy. Those resolutions were handled in the same manner.
The introduction of a resolution is procedural and handled with respect but does not indicate the organization is "reviewing a policy" or signal a change in
Completely unrelated to the introduction of this resolution, on May 27, an online petition asked the Boy Scouts to meet with a spokesperson from the group circulating the petition and accept signatures generated from the online petition, which asked the BSA to change its policy.
While it was not on the Boy Scouts' national business meeting agenda, out of courtesy and respect for differing viewpoints, the BSA accepted the petition during a private meeting.
This meeting to accept the petition was not related in any way to the introduction of the resolution.
The BSA policy is: "While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA."
Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed
outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.
The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a
After Two-Year Evaluation, Boy Scouts of America
Affirms Membership Standards and Announces No Change in Policy
Organization to Take No Further Action on Resolution Requesting Revision of Policy
July 17, 2012
IRVING, TEXAS – After careful consideration of a resolution asking the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its longstanding membership standards policy, today the
organization affirmed its current policy, stating that it remains in the best interest of Scouting and that there will be no further action taken on the resolution.
This decision follows a nearly two-year-long examination, started in 2010, of the policy commissioned by the Chief Scout Executive and national president. Under their leadership, the BSA convened a special committee of volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy continued to be in the best
interest of the organization.
The committee included a diversity of perspectives and opinions. The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations – both from within Scouting and from outside the organization. The committee's work and conclusion is that this policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA's members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth.
"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America. "While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."
Following the recommendation to affirm the BSA's membership policy, the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board released the following statement: "Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting. While not all Board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership
agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA."
Resolutions asking the BSA both to affirm and reconsider this policy have been raised throughout the years. With any resolution, regardless of subject, the BSA may or may not refer it to a committee for review or may immediately determine no further action is necessary.
About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation's foremost youth program of
character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be "Prepared. For Life." The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.
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