With 60% in favor, the Boy Scouts of America voted on Thursday to allow openly gay youth in the Scouts. The 22-year-old ban was based on a quote from the organization's oath, which states, "On my honor I will do my best .to keep myself physically strong, mentally alert and morally straight."
While this is a coup for LGBT youths interested in scouting, it's not an overall win for LGBT rights. The Scouts also voted to continue their ban on gay and bisexual leaders.
BREAKING: Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay boys as Scouts; ban on gay adult leaders remains— The Associated Press (@AP) May 23, 2013
"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," the scouts said in a statement released after the vote. "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."
Reporting on the results, USA Today notes that the Scouts are predominately a faith based organization.
About 70% of all Scout troops are run by faith-based organizations, according to the Boy Scouts of America. About 37% are Mormon, 10% Methodist and 8% Catholic.
The issue has long been contentious. In 2000 the Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts could legally bar homosexuals from being troop leaders. The case centered on a gay Scout leader in New Jersey, James Dale, who was dismissed in 1990.
A similar case involving a gay Scout, Tim Curran, made it to the California Supreme. Curran a took a male date to his senior prom. The Mount Diablo Boy Scout Council then barred him from scouting activities and he sued. The California court ruled for the Scouts in 1998.
The proposal, which will go into effect on January 2014, was voted by more than 1,400 members of the organization's national council at a meeting in Grapevine, Texas. Following today's news, the crafty kids at The Onion published a bit featuring Max Lovell, 12, a fictional gay Buy Scout, who says, "This is great. I get made fun of every day for being gay, but now I’ll be called a dork, too."