June 06, 2013

On My Honor: The Boy Scouts and Sexual Orientation

RaskoffBy Sally Raskoff

The Boy Scouts of America voted recently to change their membership policy. They passed the resolution to "remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone." The resolution actually reads: "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."

This is a large change for the organization as they have long denied membership – and leadership positions – based on sexual orientation. They also require members to have particular religious beliefs that are reflected in the oath.

The last word in the resolution sentence noted above is particularly interesting, as it suggests that sexual orientation may be still used as a reason for denying membership if other factors are present. Alone? Why would they need to keep that word there if they were opening up membership to youth of any sexual orientation?

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