On Thursday, the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow openly gay youth to participate in the organization. Openly gay leaders and adults are still prohibited from taking part.
Over 1,400 members of the BSA National Council voted on the proposed change, with over 60 percent voting in favor of allowing gay youth. However, openly gay members will not be allowed to continue with the organization once they turn 18 and gay troop leaders are still prohibited.
Matt Comer, 27, who was kicked out of the Boy Scouts when at age 14 because of his sexual orientation welcomed the news. “Today we finally have some justice for me and others,” he said. “But gay youths will still be told they are no longer welcome when they turn 18.”
Eagle Scout and executive director of Scouts for Equality, Zach Wahls, said, “The Boy Scouts of America can do better. We welcome the news that the ban on gay Scouts is history, but our work isn’t over until we honor the Scout Law by making this American institution open and affirming to all.”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said, “Today is a historic day for Boy Scouts across the country who want to be a part of this great American institution. But the new policy doesn’t go far enough. Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans.”
After the vote, the BSA announced, “While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting.” The new policy will take affect January 2014.