Boy Scouts Lifting the Ban on Allowing Gay Leaders

Updated on January 29, 2013
☆.A. asks from Beverly Hills, CA
36 answers

So the BSA may lift the ban on openly gay scout leaders.
What do you think?
Personally, it seems like this is lagging behind the other gay rights in this country, but better late than never, right?

If you have kids in scouts, will this impact your decision to continue scouting?
Do you feel it's a good thing or a bad thing?

Apparently they will leave the decision to the individual scout groups to determine policy.
Shouldn't it be equally apied to all BS groups?

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So What Happened?

I don't see what pedophiles have to do with this.
Gay men aren't pedophiles--they're GAY.
Julie K--that's what I thought! I think a "no couples" and "men only" seems to still apply with gay men involved. I mean it's not like 2 gay strangers are goi g to hook up for a night!
Cheryl 0-IN MYOPINION, you are free to ask the questions you'd like and I'll choose mine, 0K?
Ally--the married, father of seven, Jerry Sandusky?
Sue W. -- informative link! Scary that it could have been covered up for that long!
Momof4--I agree. The issue is that there is some Federal funding of BSA. And that's where the discrimination issue comes into play especially. So, technically, if they want to act as a private organization, then they need to BE a private organization, not use tax dollars from those they exclude.
AngelaG TX--I considers self a social liberal and a fiscal conservative--maybe that's what you're feeling? :)

Featured Answers



answers from Kansas City on

I hope by the time I have a boy who reaches scouting age, the Scouts have become something I could consider letting them join. As it is, I have a gay brother in law, and I'd never let them join an organization that would teach them that there is something wrong with their uncle.

25 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Actually it kills me that my son is a scout with the ban in place. Hope they drop it on Atheists too.

19 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think that a gay man should be able to lead a BS troop- why shouldn't he be able to lead, what if he wants to participate because he has a son in the group.

I don't get why some of the responders below indicate that just because someone is gay they are promiscuous and are going to hit on or have sex in the tent. That is ridiculous - Being gay doesn't make them sex addicts for crying out loud!

And just to clarify, my son did not join BS - I don't trust many of the straight men that are leading many of the troops. Recently, I have heard a lot of news about straight BS leaders molesting boys in their troops -hmmm

Oh and I don't care if the leader of the girlscout troop is a lesbian either.

13 moms found this helpful

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answers from Tampa on

This is actually O. of the reasons that I haven't let my son join. It just seems wrong to discriminate against any group and I do not feel that it is a the right message to teach to my child. As long as someone goes through the same background checks as any other leader, I don't see what the problem should be.

22 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Discrimination is the main reason why my boys will never join the Boy Scouts.
My brother-in-law is gay. A number of very dear friends are LGBT.
The blanket statements are frightening. The every gay man must be a pedophile, no gay man could ever have any self control to not have sex while being in charge of children, and the unspoken being around "Teh Gay" will make you Gay too.
Do you have the self control to not have sex with your husband if you are in the position of the care of a group of children? Yes. So do LGBT.
Do you want to have sex with young children? No. Neither do all LGBT.
If being around gay people makes you gay then why are they not straight from being around so many straight people?
It's all absolutely absurd!!
Every O. of my LGBT friends and family are outstanding human beings, not deviants. I would trust any O. of them with my children.
If my children were in Scouts of any kind and had a scout leader that was LGBT I would have no problems at all with it as they passed the same background check as anyone else wanting to be a leader Sexual orientation means absolutely nothing to me when making my decisions on who to trust and who not to trust.

A straight male scout leader does not need to bring his wife camping with the express desire to have sex with her just as much as a gay male should not bring his partner for the same. Doesn't matter what sexual orientation, it's just common sense that it is not appropriate for anyone.

I think leaving it to each group is a cop out. I don't think it goes far enough. My boys will never be joining the Boy Scouts of America.

20 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My son is a Cub Scout and I am THRILLED to read this post. I seriously considered NOT putting him in Scouts due to the previous policy.

I'm not gay, my husband is not gay, but I am a big supporter of equal rights for everyone. I can not imagine how having a gay scout leader would change my sons experience.

I think it should be equally applied to all BS groups - and I will for sure be looking more into this! Thanks for the post!

19 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Who said anything about couples and people screwing while watching other people's kids...? Good grief. Talk about missing the picture...

My son is in Scouts and I have no problem with a gay man being a leader. Gay people can appreciate and want to teach children just as much as straight ones and I don't think sexual orientation should have anything to do with it.

Being attracted to other men and being a pedophile are two very very different things. And if we're comparing, it would be lesbians (which I also have no problem with) for girls scouts. Not men.

16 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

it think it's sad that there was ever a moment that someone actually stated, "gay people are not allowed to be around our children." YIKES.

kinda off topic - but, i was told not long ago by a long-time scout mom (my son will be in 1st next year) that "moms" are encouraged to participate in Boy Scouts too - sooo...i really don't get the "no gays" thing. i guess it's ONLY if you're a straight mom?? lol! not to make jokes i just think the whole thing is soooo ignorant and hateful. beyond logic really.....

ETA - wow should have read the responses first on this O..

i'm so sad that some people are still so hateful and bigoted.

what a bummer so early in the morning :(

14 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

As a Canadian I can prouly say that Scouts Canada does not discriminate for reasons of sexual identity or gender identity.
"Scouts Canada is committed to social justice including the promotion of gender and member diversity at all levels of the organization, both in its structures and programs and to the elimination of discrimination on the groups of race, gender, ethnicity, financial ability, sexual orientation, religion, disability or age." I wouldn't allow my kids to belong to any organization that didn't uphold these basic human rights.

ETA: Bug, there are many people out there who do not have children of their own, but still have something to contribute to the development of children. If your sons went through the whole scouting program would they not be able to lead a troop if they didn't have children in the troop? I went through the air cadet program and I think only O. of our officers had a child in my squadron. When I was a Girl Guide my friends mother was a guide leader for another troop, so the daughter could experience Girl Guides without her mother. She could go camping with her mother any time. Girl Guides was about gaining independence.

14 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

This issue has been a very difficult O. for me. I have two children. O. is a boy scout. Scouting is his identity. He doesn't do sports, he loves the outdoors and scouting is his #1 thing. My other child is a gay teen. I love Scouts and our troop but hate the national organization. My husband is an assistant scout master and I know that my daughter views this as a betrayal.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Wow. Some of you actually think gay = pedophile? I feel sorry for you and your kids. The majority of pedophiles are straight men.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My best friend was gay (she died ten years ago) so this is why my kids did not become boy scouts. It is also why I stopped giving money to charities that refused to allow gay couples to adopt. (Catholic Charities). I was really sad about that O. because I really believe in 99 % of what Catholic charities does, but I had to stop. To be honest, gay couples are some of the best parents and partners I have ever seen, seriously. The idea that foster care for a life time is better for kids than two loving parents who happen to be of the same gender, well, that just defies logic and human kindness.

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I think it's great! @mzKitty why? Just because a man is gay doesn't mean he's going to have sex with little boys. Isn't the point of scouts to teach tolerance to kids? Now they can fully do this! Way to go scouts
WOW I just read a comment that gay people aren't human beings?! Really? So my best friend and her partner of 12 years aren't human beings? They don't deserve the same rights as "human beings" wow...

13 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

About durn time.


Aaaaargh. Pedophiles are nearly always STRAIGHT men, people! Who are molesting & raping little boys (but having consensual sex with grown women). Being gay has NOTHING to do with pedophilia!! 2 totally different things!!!

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Just because a man is gay does not mean he is attracted to children. Not does being a lesbian mean they are sexually attracted to little girls.

A pedophile is usually a straight person, married, with their own children. That's how they make themselves seem innocent and not a threat.

A pedophile often has a type, a 9-12 year old boy or a 6-8 year old girl....they have an age and sex they prefer so they aren't likely to be in a position to draw attention to themselves at all.


About the atheist part, the YMCA and other leaders during the time that Boy Scouts was started made the organization a Christian based organization.

The Y is Young, M is Men's, C is Christian, A is Association. You can't very well call the YMCA a non christian organization just like the boy scouts can't be called a non christian based organization. So if an atheist wants to get in there and do the activities then they have to realize that the Boy Scouts is a christian based organization and they'll have to do activities and work on goals that put God in that planning and they'll have to take part in those organization's events.

So I know it's hard for people to wrap their heads around it but you don't tell a Christian organization they can't make God part of their activities and they can't do activities that are about God because it offends you. You just have to pick a different organization to take part in. You wouldn't take your young people to a church to do a youth activity then tell them that they can't mention God around you because you are an atheist. That's all I'm saying, you can't tell some organization that is a christian organization they can't be about God. That's what they are about.

This is how they've been able all this time to keep leaders that profess to be gay out of the organizations because most religions teach that that is not the way God planned for people to be.

They have the right to plan and organize that kind of organization just as someone else has the right to organize ones that are not based on any sort of spiritual or religious organizational beliefs.

I have several friends who are gay, 2 of my college roommates were gay men. O. of my best friends employees was a transvestite and he was the most fun person to go shopping with or out to the local club to dance. He was hilarious. So I am far far far from being a gay basher. I have the utmost respect for my friends and the trials they have gone through.

I do think that as time goes by and more and more people are able to organize clubs and other organizations then some of the ones that are more restrictive will find they have no more members.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

This is the reason why my nephews are not in Boy Scouts ...the ban. My BIL refuses to get his kids in an organization that discriminates. It's about time you lifted that ban BSA!

Boy Scouts is not *NAMBLA so be vigilant if you must but get over the paranoia.

*(for those who may not know, that is North American Man Boy Love Association ..yuck! THANKS a lot South Park for violating the coffers of my knowledge decades ago)

BTW my daughter is in GSA and our troop leader is a dad. I guess we are a bit more progressive in our little neck of the woods.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

It should be a non-issue and I hope they look back years from now and shake their head that there was ever a ban in place.

I think if there was a gay couple who were troop leaders, they could refrain for a night or two like parents typically do when they are more concerned about the care and safety of their charge. Again, non-issue.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

(sigh) I cannot even begin to bring myself to read the other responses. Sorry All!

Both of my sons chose Scouts. My older son quit as teen years approached. My younger son is working on his Eagle Scout as I type. :)

How do I feel about the ban being lifted? To place a ban, in the 1st place, was discriminatory. It should be lifted. As for the individual troops making their own choice.....NO....Scouts are a National Organization & all rules should be uniform/universal/& apply to all involved. This is how sedition begins.....& the Board should stand firm on O. choice only.

Does the thought of gay troop leaders/Scouts concern me? NO. My sons both have gay friends, as do my nieces. I have gay friends, too. Does this concern me or fear for my heterosexuality....NO. Being gay is not like.....cooties rubbing off on anyone!

Good question...& maybe someday I'll read the other responses. :)

Oooops, O. more thought/question: does this mean there are NO lesbians in Girl Scouts?

12 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Haven't read the responses yet, but if the scouts keep going in this direction, I may finally let my children join. My oldest is in first grade and periodically requests to join. He also comes from quite a few eagle scouts on my husbands side. However, I just refuse to do it because they have had such an anti-gay anti-christian stance and the last thing I want is my children being brain washed into bigotry.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I say this is a nice step into the 21st century for the BS though I do agree they are adapting because of bad press.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We don't do scouts in my house period, probably mostly because it's a total waste in my area. We tried in, but it wasn't worth our time or money.

I have no problem with a gay leader. It would be no different to me than someone saying their child can't come play in my house because we are an interracial home. To my knowledge, this has never happened, but I wouldn't put it past some of the ignorant people out there. Discrimination is discrimination, and it shouldn't be tolerated, but sadly it is in so many aspects of our lives.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This is so much like my gun control answer. If things keep going the way they're going I'm going to end up a liberal. ;)

I listened to conservative talk radio on the way to school/work this morning, and I couldn't believe the ignorance. It made me embarrassed to be a conservative. I'm coming to the conclusion that I am a conservative on money-matters only (and maybe O. or two social concerns, maybe).

This particular issue should never have even been an issue at all. It just makes me sick. My boys have never been interested in Scouts before, but now if they show an interest I might be more inclined to let them join, IF the troop they would be joining were on the right side if this issue, and allowed gay scout leaders. Really though, is it anyone's business if the leaders are gay or not?

ETA: Yes, OneAndDone, that is how I feel. :)

11 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My son was a cub scout, and I was a den mom.
Yes, I was fully aware of "official Boy Scout policy."
I was also aware that most of the families and parents I volunteered with thought that was an antiquated and stupid rule, so we pretty much ignored it.
the boy who is causing all this latest controversy lives less than five miles from me, in a town just like mine, so GOOD FOR HIM and his family for shaking up this organization and making them aware of nature and science (two things so called "tradtional" Americans want no part of.)
I hope the BSA changes their tune, but if not, well, this is America after all, we are capitalists, right? The marketplace will speak. And the BSA is already seen as a pretty weak and lame organization with dwindling membership year after year. I imagine they are looking for some kind of change. Maybe this is it.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I think they are just bowing to the bad press and hoping the individual groups will still discriminate. But it is still a step in the right direction, although a small O.. If they ever decide to be truly open and tolerant I may reconsider letting my boys join, but as of now we are still a no scouting family.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Fantastic. We passed on scouting this year because of the bigoted policy. Our potential troop leader did tell us the policy was likely to change with new leadership nationally and we will likely join when it does. Long past time. In the meantime my 6 year old was on board with supporting his friends' gay parents as well as family friends.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Sorry but I do not want my son to be in a den with a gay leader. And OAD-I don't give a hoot what you or anyone else on this forum think of me for it either. I guess you think men should be girls scout leaders as well right? AND BTW- pedophiles can be gay
ETA-Oh, and just look at the preisthood to see how gay men have used their sexuality in their 'calling' among young children. Same kind of thing if you ask me.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Oh.Hell.No. Gay men should not be a scout leader. JMO.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

This is a tough O.. My husband is an Eagle Scout and I always maintained that as long as the Scouts discriminated against any group of people, our son would not be allowed to join.

This change will likely be a 'soft' O.. Which I think will later turn out to bite them in the butt, because what about events which invite all scouts? There has to be some hard line of inclusiveness drawn, which there hasn't been, or there will be future problems.

As for our family, we likely still will be out in the cold as we are secular humanists and atheists aren't allowed. We may need to look into another adventure/exploring type group for him. Maybe a Guides group?

ETA: wish I hadn't read some of the answers below. Seriously- I feel like I need to run a contest on this site sometimes: Meet an Actual, Real Life Liberal! Meet a Real Life Gay Person! I know too many liberals and gay people who are just as boring and vanilla as the rest of the world. I also know a lot of open-minded, very conservative people who believe this discrimination is wrong, so I am not applying a judgement to any group of people here. We all want what's best for our kids. No O. wants to sacrifice their children on the altar of social progress, but the backwardness and assumptions reminds me of some of the language and accusations white people used to justify segregation during the civil rights movement.

You do understand that this *is* what it is? Segregation based on who a person loves and what they do in their own bedrooms? That it is wholly what this is?

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I could care less if the leaders are gay. Some probably already are/were gay but in the closet.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm fine with it, I guess. I just don't think a gay couple should be able to tent together, since a straight couple can't. I don't think gay men should be dating within a scout troop. (Not just gay men, ANY people. This should be about kids, not singles hour.) I also don't think any person who doesn't have a child in the troop should be involved with a troupe.

For what it's worth, my husband achieved his eagle. He was telling me about how they had to kick a guy out. He WAS openly gay, and was accepted just fine. Not every person in boy scouts discriminates. The man was accepted by everyone, until he screwed up. He DID hit on O. of the "boys." (He was 17, so not truly a boy.) By hit on, I mean REALLY tried to manipulate him into acts. It was an incredibly unfortunate, sad, scary and awkward situation. (According to my husband, I was not there. The boy left scouts, because the whole thing was so humiliating.) Now, that is why I'm against an outsider with no personal child ties, coming into any group. Men on there own, with no NOT belong. It's too risky, in my opinion. This might be a organization wide rule now, and I know it was made to be a rule in my husband's group.

I will be allowing my son to be part of scouts, if he desires. My husband NEVER encountered any member being discriminated against. And, yes...there were some gay boys.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My ONLY problem with this whole thing is that an Organization should be able to decide how they want to run their OWN business. People can decide if they want to be a part of it or NOT. And of course people can always decide to open their own organization.

I will not allow my son or daughter to be in scouts if the Leader does not have a child in it, whether they are gay or not is irrelevant. There are plenty other places to volunteer.

I wonder if there are/what the guidelines for gays to volunteer at places like Big Brother/Big Sister.

ETA: My point being is that this was not hidden when they got funding, therefore it should stay the same if the Organization wants it too; be grandfathered in.

I can't stand that Girl Scouts has brochures for the young girls to read about services that Planned Parenthood endorses, with the phone number attached. I hate that Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthoood have a strong partnership. I think they overstepped in there Organization, where is the outrage over that?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

It should be up to the parents of the kids in the troop who they feel comfortable with leaving in charge of their kids. If you were uncomfortable with a gay troop leader, find another troop. If the parents were fine with it, I dont know why it was an issue in the first place, seems stupid to me. I dont know why they made a stink of it in the first place.

When my dh was young he was in scouts and O. of the moms was the scout leader since none of the dads wanted to do it. Im pretty sure she took them camping, so I dont know what the rules are the other person was posting about as far as no women camping because they might have sex or whatever.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I think the whole issue remains that some, I think actually many people don't have a clear idea of what being gay is all about. Strong supporters of gay rights believe and teach that being gay is the same experience as say being born male or female, heterosexual etc, basically it is the core identity the individual was born with. If I felt this way I would totally support all gay rights as a civil rights issue and bc I know people are coming from this perspective I get why these things incense them. However, there are people, myself included, that do not claim to know how every person comes to a sense of gay sexual identity, but we don't equate it to being born heterosexual, so we do not see it as a civil rights issue. Also O. thing I will say is that no O. is saying that any gay person is not actually a human being and therefore cannot own property, have personal autonomy over their own lives etc. The restrictions gay people face are in relationship to the behavior of being gay. Marriage is defined as the civil union of O. male and female, to allow two people of the same gender to marry changes the definition. I know I am coming at this question totally around the mountain, but I didn't want to just throw up some reflexive answer, but rather address the why behind the view of no gay leaders in the Boy Scouts is reasonable. Th Boy Scouts have in the past promoted the idea traditional even conservative views. It is going to shake people up bc many folks think of homosexuality as a sign of a deeply confused individual and that can happen for so many reasons but that is unsettling to parents, of course plenty of heterosexuals are jacked up, but starting with a person in an openly gay lifestyle is like waving a flag out in front of people hat a person has issues, and it is hard enough to leave your kid with folks that you don't know we'll, that is just too much. Wow, this is so long winded! Stopping now.... Good question I think

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

I think perhaps it's time for the Boy Scouts to disband as a national organization. I think they are taking a cowardly route if the reports are true. It would be O. thing if they lifted the ban and said that they had been mistaken all these years, but instead they appear to be passing the buck to local leadership to sort out this divisive, controversial issue with no hope of backup from the larger national organization. If the local leaders catch flak from their communities--regardless of whether they are accepting or rejecting gay members--they are on their own to defend the decision (perhaps legally) because they will be responsible for it. So, to answer your question, yes, they should either change the policy across the board or keep the ban in place.

But the thing is, Boy Scouts knows that currently a large percentage of scouting is run by churches, many of which openly condemn homosexuality. I don't know how much these groups participated in the larger decision by the Boy Scouts to abandon their national position on the issue, but there are at least a few of these denominations who are heavily involved in the organization that I can't see staying in scouting should this announcement turn out to be true (I'm a little skeptical since a similar announcement was made in June of 2012 that they were about to lift the ban within the coming weeks--but only a little.). I suspect this will do damage to the scouting program, financially speaking, and I suspect that the Boy Scouts national leadership knows this as well and hopes that by remaining "neutral" on the issue, they can keep the people who have kept them running all these years as well as potentially embrace new groups (aka new sources of financial support; sorry for the cynicism, but I doubt it's a genuine change of heart).

Now, to answer your other questions, I'm answering as both a scout leader as well as a scout parent. I am disgusted by the lack of backbone the national leadership is showing if they follow the plan I've seen discussed in news stories. Scouting is about teaching boys character and honesty and having the courage to do the right thing. I believe they are showing none of these in refusing to take a firm stance on this issue. If they believed homosexuality was wrong before, they need to issue an apology and an explanation to, well, everyone, why things have changed now. They absolutely should not defer this decision to local leadership. The lack of courage alone is enough to make me consider pulling my boys and myself from the program. It is absolute hypocrisy to claim the values they have and not live by them as an organization. I'll withhold final judgment till I see/hear more about this from the actual scouting leadership versus media hype, but in case it isn't clear already, I don't like the way they appear to be handling it and don't think it will go over very well longterm.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I do not have boys so this BSA issue is a non issue for me, but I would just like to remind everyone to always be vigilant for their child and to be their child's advocate no matter what the situation no matter what the group.

I'm going to post this profile of a pedophile as a 'gentle' reminder that not all pedophiles are priests and they're not all trying to be Boy Scout leaders...

"The pedophile will often be employed in a position that involves daily contact with children. If not employed, he will put himself in a position to do volunteer work with children, often in a supervisory capacity such as sports coaching, contact sport instruction, unsupervised tutoring or a position where he has the opportunity to spend unsupervised time with a child. "

No matter what or where, if something doesn't seem right follow your instinct.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

I am in the same boat as a few others. I would have no problem with a gay man being with the kids however we do run into the issue of when we get O. pedophile in there that starts raping the boys. I understand that being gay does not mean you are a pedophile but its that what if chance that I do worry about.

If you put my son in a position to be raped (likely from the person or not) I go lioness on you.

It is not gays or straights that are pedophiles. It is a people from each group. Personally right now I say that No, its not worth the risk at this point. Esspecially with all of the trips that our scouts do. It is to convenient for things to happen. I think that it should be as it always has been. No females and no gays. Its not prejudice, its safety precautions.

1 mom found this helpful
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