The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) turned 104 this year, and it was the first year that openly gay youth could join the program. Prior to last year, some BSA sponsors and members preferred the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which alienated gay youth from feeling accepted in the program.
The decision to lift the ban was made on May 23, 2013, at an annual BSA national council meeting, where over 60 percent of the 1,400 members voted in favor of removing the ban.
Some religious groups, which sponsor over 70 percent of BSA units, were displeased with the results. However, BSA President Wayne Perry stressed that the decision was made with every boy in mind:
“It’s a very difficult decision for a lot of people, but we are moving forward together,” he said. “Our vision is to serve every kid.”
The ban’s lift went into effect on Jan. 1. There are 2.5 million scouts in the program as of this year.
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