Archives: Gay rights activists should let Boy Scouts decide its own course

Originally published in February 2013
Simon Nguyen

COMMENTARY | Gay rights activists could learn a thing or two from Gloria Steinem, the famed social activist who had a hand in the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s. Together with her fellow activists, Steinem co-founded Ms. Magazine – a female alternative to prominent magazines dominated by men. Instead of pressuring Boy Scouts of America into briskly altering its makeup, gay rights activists should work with other social activists to form their own scout organization where girls, boys, gays and other groups are free to enjoy this timeless hobby.

The gay rights movement certainly has the ability to make this happen. After all, President Barack Obama and his administration are strong supporters of gays and lesbians. Also, there are plenty of wealthy benefactors who would gladly fund a new inclusive scout group. If Ms. Magazine could overcome the odds and became successful, there is no reason why a mainstream scout organization would not succeed.

Should Boy Scouts of America and other private institutions allow openly gay members? This is something that should be left to the organizations to decide internally. When most of their members feel the time is right to allow gay members, these institutions will have no choice but to change their policies or face dwindling membership. Until then, it is counterproductive for gay rights activists to publicly pressure private organizations to do things they are not yet prepared to do.

The current effort by gay rights activists to coerce the Boy Scouts into quickly changing its long-standing policy could have unintended consequences. Many faith-based groups, which charter up to 70% of the Scouts troops according to Fox News, plan to reevaluate their relationship with the organization if the national ban on gay members is lifted. The Boy Scouts, which has over 100 years of history, could be on verge of being broken up or possibly dissolved. Surely, no one wants to see something like that happens to one of America’s most beloved institutions.

About the site