Over the past few weeks, the Board of Directors of the Boy Scouts of America has been discussing ending their ban on gay scouts and leaders. This would be a complete reversal of the stance they have had for decades. The issue of gay scouts went as far as getting to the Supreme Court in 2000, where the court ruled that the group was allowed to decide its own membership rules.
While this change is no doubt a step in the right direction, the Boy Scouts of America do not deserve praise for this act. We should not be commending them for finally reaching the bare minimum level of human decency. Their ban on homosexual members and leaders is an embarrassment and a disgrace, and softening their stance does not erase years and years of oppression.
The potential changes in policy don’t actually guarantee membership for homosexuals; all it does is allow local chapters to decide their own membership policies. Many scout troops will continue to be just as exclusionary and homophobic. The Boy Scouts of America will continue to cruelly persecute whomever they choose, but now it will be on the local level instead of the national level.
The changes are not something to be proud of. They aren’t a reason to commend the Boy Scouts for being inclusive and progressive because the Boy Scouts aren’t inclusive or progressive.