AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Boy Scouts of America are one step closer to removing a policy held since the late 1980’s. It bans openly gay adults from volunteering.
The National Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution allowing gay adults to serve as employees and volunteers. The National Executive Board will have the final say in a vote set for July 27.
“In this day and age, of course we’re moving towards equality, equal rights for all,” said Brooke Yates, a mother of two. “And I don’t think it’s a good rule necessarily to have.”
Yates would like to see the policy change happen.
“It would make me more willing for my boys to join if I knew that it was an accepting group of people who were open-minded,” said Yates.
Austin father, Greg Davis, believes the change should have happened a long time ago.
“I don’t think sexual orientation has anything to do with scouting or the ability to teach scouting,” said Davis. “If we can let people be who they are I think we’re going to be ok.”
The local chapter of the Boy Scouts isn’t taking a stance on the issue.
“Whenever anybody wants to become an adult volunteer they have to fill out an adult membership application which then is approved or denied by the national leadership, the national organization of the Boy Scouts,” said Charles Mead, marketing and PR director for the Capital Area Council of the Boy Scouts. “We’re always trying to find the best individuals possible to fill these jobs because ultimately, they’re the ones to make scouting happen.”
Mead says here in Austin, sexual orientation hasn’t been a factor in that mission. To his knowledge, no volunteers have been removed due to the policy.
When filling out the volunteer application you won’t actually find a box asking your sexual orientation. It’s been more of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.
Questions you will find: whether applicants have used illegal drugs or faced arrest for child abuse.
Not everyone has to adhere to the rule, however. Religiously sponsored units will still be able to choose leaders based on their own beliefs.
Membership in the Boy Scouts has declined over the years. In 2013 there were 2.6 million members, and only 2.4 million in 2014, according to the latest Boy Scouts of America financial reports.