The Boy Scouts of America may be close to ending its long-standing policy banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to NBC News. The rumors are swirling ahead of a meeting of the Boy Scouts' national board set for next week.
For decades the Boy Scouts have banned gay members, going so far as to keep a list of suspected gay members in its infamous "perversion files." A lawsuit over the ban went all the way to Supreme Court, which upheld the BSA's right to ban gay members.
According to anonymous "scouting officials," should the ban be lifted, it would then be left to each individual troop to create its own membership guidelines. Only seven months ago, the BSA decided it would keep the ban in place, following a two-year review of the policy. NBC's anonymous source says this new consideration comes from pressure by individual troops.
"We're a grassroots organization. This is a response to what's happening at the local level," the official said.
While this rhetoric about "grassroots organization" and "local level" is nice, it has nothing to do with what's really going on here. The BSA's consideration of putting an end to its ban on gay members is, like everything, a financial one: several organizations, including the UPS, have recently decided to pull funding of the BSA due to its discriminatory practices. Lifting the ban is just a means of self-preservation.
It's unclear when the announcement of the policy change will be made, but could be as early as the national board's meeting next week.