The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its policy of not welcoming gays into its ranks, thus shutting out young men and their parents from the benefits of the Scouting experience.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Boy Scouts have the right to exclude whomever they want, under the First Amendment’s freedom of association. And, after a two-year review by an 11-member committee, the Boy Scouts have decided to continue with the policy of exclusion.
Membership in Boy Scouts has dropped significantly in the past decade. That’s partly because there are so many other activities for young people today. But it may also indicate that parents are avoiding an organization they see as bigoted.
The Girl Scouts of America has taken a different path. The organization has been reported as saying it, “respects the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters. There are no membership policies on sexual preference.”
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In an age when social acceptance of homosexuality is changing, especially among young people, the Boy Scouts runs the danger of further declines in participation – and, ultimately, irrelevance.
That would be sad, because the Scouting experience has benefitted so many for so long.