(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here) The Boy Scouts of America have taken a (temporary?) step back from doing a good deed, and that’s a shame. When the Scouts announced that they were going to have a vote on whether Scouting affiliates would have the option to allow gays in the organization, it seemed that a call of that magnitude, and the relatively short time frame, was a hint that the change would be made.
Apparently not. The Scouts got cold feet and wandered off into indecisiveness. Both the Utah Scouts and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which has not issued an opinion on the change) were supportive of the Scouts putting off the change until May. But putting off the decision boosts the ugly premise that arguments against the change have some merit. They do not. It is wrong to deny gay people an active role in Scouting. It is not against the law, given the private nature of the organization, but it is discrimination and it is an ugly practice.
People who are opposed to having gays in Scouting, or even to the Scouts’ now-deferred compromise, should be pressured to explain their reasoning. They should clearly articulate why they believe a gay or lesbian individual who wants to be a leader in Scouting is immoral. They should explain what it is about that individual’s life that makes him or her unfit to be part of the Boy Scouts of America.
My guess is those questions would not get many clear answers. There’d be a lot of spin and squirming. If there were clear answers, it would reveal more about those who support the ban.