The Boy Scouts of America’s national executive board is discussing whether to change their policy to include gay members and leaders. Because of this controversial decision, it will not be determined until May at the organization’s annual meeting. President Barack Obama says yes, while Gov. Rick Perry says no. I say there is no right answer.
The Scouts were built upon Catholic fundamentals and have maintained a no-gay policy for about 100 years. Just seven months ago, the BSA reaffirmed their no-gay policy, so what made them change their minds in a mere seven months?
The Scouts are a private organization; therefore, the ultimate decision should not be based on politics or popular culture, but unfortunately, that is what seems to be influencing this decision.
Obama, the honorary president of the BSA, told CBS that “gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.”
“Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives,” Obama said. “And I think nobody should be barred from that.”
Gays are people like everyone else. Therefore, they should have the same opportunities every other human in this country is given.
In an address at the Texas Scouts’ 64th annual Report to the State, Perry, an Eagle Scout, suggested that the BSA was just bending to popular culture.
“I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I,” Perry said to reporters. “To have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate.”
The Scouts are just now bringing up this issue that had already been ground in their fundamentals. It could possibly be that the Scouts are giving into the societal movements of the 21st century.
Although it is clear politicians will not agree on this issue, it does not matter. The Scouts are a private institution, so the only thing that matters is the votes of the Scout board and the opinions of current and former members and leaders.
Eagle Scout Reed Battles, a freshman history and Spanish double major, said he thinks gays should be allowed.
“They’re not going to hurt anyone, and it’s not like they’re going to pass a gay agenda,” Battles said. “In my experience, there was never a religious undertone. I don’t think there is going to be any homosexual undertone.”
The vote will be a great challenge. Either way, one group will be angered. Either way, the rights of one side will be ignored. Either way, the dissent among current troops and leaders who dislike gays will be disregarded, or the rights of gays to join a private organization will be denied. There is no clear answer. There can be no middle ground on this issue.
Molly Spain is a freshman journalism major from Flower Mound, Texas