Beginning January 1st, the Boy Scouts of America will begin admitting openly gay scouts:
The new policy was approved in May, with support from 60 percent of the 1,400 voting members of the BSA's National Council. The vote followed bitter nationwide debate, and was accompanied by an announcement that the BSA would continue to exclude openly gay adults from leadership positions.
Under the new membership policy, youths can no longer be barred from the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or coed Venturers program solely on the basis of sexual orientation. However, gay Scouts will face some limitations.
"Any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting," says one BSA document. "No member may use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda, including on the matter of sexual orientation."
While the new policies gained national attention earlier this year, Brad Haddock, a BSA national executive board member who chairs the policy implementation committee, says there been little fallout since the announcement. "If a church said they wouldn't work with us, we'd have a church right down the street say, 'We'll take the troop.'"