Yesterday a Boy Scouts of America review of ‘Values and Membership Polices’ was announced on the Scouting Magazine Blog where a link to this B.S.A. website with comprehensive information about the review is available.
I’d suggest reading the information available there for a pretty thorough understanding of how the membership policy of excluding people based on sexual orientation is being addressed.
Here’s my summary of the information on the site:
- In 2010 a committee was convened to study the membership policy question (specifically excluding people based on sexual orientation).
- Last summer the finding of that committee was announced.
- This announcement “began an even deeper dialogue within Scouting” and “created an outpouring of feedback from the American public”.
- This conversation led to the announcement in January 2012 that the National Executive Board would be discussing the policy at their annual meeting in February.
- At the annual meeting of the National Executive Board it was determined that a broader discussion was in order and that a proposed membership standards change would be presented at the 2013 B.S.A. Annual Meeting in May for a vote . (According to the website the voters are ” … made up of volunteers serving at local councils across the country. Each council receives a set number of votes and an additional number of votes proportionally based on the council’s membership number. The National Council does not share the names of those voters.“)
- Yesterday’s announcement included this timeline of the phases being implemented leading up to the Annual Meeting:
Planning—The BSA defines the desired process and intended outcomes. (Feb. 6–28)
Listening—The BSA’s standing committees engage key stakeholders for input and develop a summary impact report. (March 1–April 5)
Evaluating—The BSA’s officers review the summary impact report and prepare a resolution for the consideration of the National Council voting members. (April 5–17)
Educating—The report and resolution are shared with the voting members of the National Council. (April 18–May 24)
Deciding—The BSA conducts on-site information sessions for registered participants at its National Annual Meeting. (May 22–24)
Implementing—Based on the resolution and vote, the BSA will determine and implement next steps for the organization. (May 24–ongoing)
As you well know this is an issue that elicits strong responses. You are welcomed to comment on it here, but keep in mind:
Comments are not the place to discuss the question of sexual orientation itself (See these resources if you’d like more information on the subject.)
It is understood that there are religious differences on the question, think twice before repeating them in the comments (here’s resources on the B.S.A’s polices on religion.)
I have read and studied the comment streams of many, many articles about this issue. The predictable repetitive arguments that usually arise don’t advance useful discussion so I will not publish them here – however I am happy to discuss any issue with you via email.