The Boy Scouts voted today to allow openly gay youths into the organization.
According to USA Today, 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts national council voted today at an a meeting in Texas. More than 60% of the voting members approved the proposal to lift the ban on gay scouts. Starting January 1, 2014, the organization will allow gay youths to participate in scouting for the first time in its history.
The Boy Scouts said today that they would allow openly gay youths to join the organization but the group stopped short of supporting the LGBT lifestyle. Instead, the Boy Scouts said that being gay was an "unresolved societal issue."
The scouts issued a statement saying: "The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue ... While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens."
The vote comes after months of controversy surrounding the Boy Scouts 22-year-old policy that bans gay scouts. Several Eagle Scouts turned in their badges in protests, corporations pulled sponsorships, and musicians canceled performances for the group saying that they would not support a group that discriminated against gays.
This is a big step forward for the Boy Scouts but many gay rights advocates say that the new policy still isn't enough. One major criticism of the group is that the Boy Scouts still doesn't allow gay adults to participate in its organization.
John Aravosis at the American Blog writes: "Let gay troops join, but once the troops grow up they all become pedophiles and have to be banned again lest they rape all the young Boy Scouts in their midst. How progressive of them."
What do you think of the Boy Scouts decision to allow gay youths participate in scouting?