For 103 years,
the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a
focus on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of
character development and values-based leadership training.
Based on growing
input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an
additional review of the organization’s long-standing membership policy and its
impact on Scouting’s mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from
the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the
current policy and those who support a change.
On May 23,
following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s
history, the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America’s
National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying
membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution
also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct,
whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the
virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult
leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in
place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this
process and vote.
This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of
America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to
its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.
The Boy Scouts of
America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by
allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved
societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy
review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.
While people have
different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off
when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to
focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good,
strong citizens. America’s youth need Scouting, and by focusing on the goals
that unite us, we can continue to accomplish incredible things for young people
and the communities we serve.
Further information on the membership standards review can be reviewed be