The most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history, completed in 2013 and involving 1,400 voting members, led to the removal of the restriction of denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. As a result, from January 1, 2014, the Boy Scouts of America will open its doors to every kid regardless of their sexual orientation.
The resolution was passed with a 61% majority (757 votes). Tico Perez, National Commissioner of the Boy Scouts, said that during the consultation: “There were divisions about how to serve kids. Our volunteers disagreed about the best way to serve kids and the best way to serve Scouting.”
He clarified though that: “What you’ve seen is 1,400 volunteers of the Boy Scouts of America united on one thing – serving kids and moving forward.”
He said that: “Our singular focus going forward is serving more kids through Scouting and we believe this resolution is going to do that.”
The Boy Scouts of America clarified that: “The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place.”
“For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.”
“This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.”
Since the resolution passed in May 2013, the Boy Scouts of America has received numerous statements and messages of support for the change, some of which have highlighted their support for a change to the adult membership requirements. For example, Bruce Chudacoff from the Jewish Committee of Scouting wrote: “I know that many of us now want to move on to the next step and to eliminate sexual orientation as a criterion for adults as well. That time will come.”