The Boy Scouts of America, according to its national president Robert Gates, the former defense secretary, seems to be recognizing that its longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer feasible. “The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” Gates told the Scouts’ national annual meeting in Atlanta.
It’s a good thing for a bedrock national organization to stop discriminating. In this case, the courts have recognized that scouting is a private organization that is free to choose its voluntary troop leaders. But the scouts are responding to the changing times, and the increasingly common view that their policy is intolerant and mean spirited.
But if you read the comments to the AP story (why do we read the comments!), you realize how strong the antipathy/animus remains, and how unrelenting is the belief that gay men just want to be in scouting for the opportunity to sexually abuse boys.
Again here, as elsewhere, our opponents are making excellent use of the heavy handed and, yes, also mean-spirited attempts to force bakers, florists and photographers (and pizza shops) to provide services in celebration of same-sex weddings. If for no other reason than the sheer tactical stupidity of these lawsuits and mob mobilizations against small working-class vendors with traditional religious beliefs, they should not be supported.