For more than 100 years, the inclusion of openly gay males to the Boy Scouts of America has been banned. This week, however, a single vote may change that.
If the policy is overturned, it would remove the ban as a national policy, but leave the decision of whether or not to include openly gay males to each local chapter.
For one Long Valley troop, the change would actually be welcomed.
“[Allowing homosexuals to join Scouts] Is not an issue,” said Troop 36 Scoutmaster Jay DeBoey. “It’s not something we concern ourselves with. [Sexual orientation] is not what Scouts is about.”
DeBoey, now in his second year as the troop’s Scoutmaster, said while he was not speaking on behalf of the troop’s members or their parents, he believed many of the participating families were on the same page when it came to the topic.
He also said scoutmasters, by and large, are usually in line with doing what the national council asks of them. So if the board overturns the policy, Troop 36 would have no problem being in line with the inclusion policy, DeBoey said.
“We try hard to leave politics aside,” DeBoey said about his discussions with members of the troop. “But the thought (within the troop) is wider inclusion is better.”
For Troop 36, the focus has always been and always will be about teaching leadership and life skills, DeBoey said.
In a CBS News segment prior to Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, President Barack Obama said he believed the BSA should overturn the policy and become fully inclusive.
In July 2012, BSA reiterated its stance on not being fully-inclusive by saying “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
Where do you stand? What do you think the BSA should do at the national level?