On Tuesday, The Boy Scouts of America upheld its decision to ban gay members within the organization, according to NBC News. A committee consisting of 11 leaders and volunteers gathered privately for two years to determine whether the anti-gay policy was “still in the organization’s best interests after a resolution was put forward to reconsider it.”
The BSA’s choice to continue its anti-gay ban seems anomalous in a time where gay rights are ubiquitous. However, the organization is known for its “straight” oaths. Warren J. Blumenfield highlights in the Huffington Post that the BSA considers homosexuality “inconsistent” with their principles. Though their ideals are not inclusive (unlike the Girls Scouts of America’s), they are constitutional under the First Amendment.
Deron Smith, a Scouts spokesman, said in an e-mail that the unanimous resolution was the “best policy” for the organization. According to USA Today, Bob Mazzuca, chief executive of the BSA, states most of the families within the Scouts support the policy, though protests are prevalent.
Jennifer Tyrrell is one individual targeted because of the contentious decision. Tyrrell openly shared her identity with members and their families, and neither parents nor cub scouts objected to Tyrrell’s membership. She was still removed as den mother of her son’s pack in April because of her sexual orientation, after she was initially informed that her orientation was not an issue. Tyrrell, Zach Wahls, an eagle scout whose parents are homosexual, and other individuals and rights groups continue to fight against the ban.
In response to the decision, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, states that the BSA’s decision was “a missed opportunity of colossal proportions.” He adds, “With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued. They’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.”