Progression is a word usually reserved for politics, but in the case of the Boy Scouts of America organization, it could be the very word that saves them.
The BSA national board is considering lifting the ban on gay scouts and leaders and allowing local organizations to decide on the issue for themselves.
The organization’s current rule is similar to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that went defunct after President Obama signed a bill that put an end to that tactic.
Gay marriage is now legal in three states thanks to the 2012 election and it is high time that members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community are given the same rights as the straight community, including joining the Boy Scouts.
United Parcel Service already put pressure on the organization by stopping it’s charitable grants until the group lifts its ban on gay members. UPS gave the Boy Scouts about $85,000 in 2011, according to its federal tax return.
Three other major organizations, including Intel, followed UPS’ example and stopped their contributions. Intel was one of the Boy Scouts biggest contributors, giving the group $700,000 in 2010.
However, the recent discussion of removing the ban on gays seems to have little to do with progression and a lot to do with the money.
As they say, money talks and for the Boy Scouts’ leaders it may be talking loud enough to get them to lift a 103-year-old ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court a few years ago.
Along with the BSA’s credibility went their backbone. For an organization that is supposed to teach life skills and how to be a role model, they are telling children and troops’ leaders: “Stand up for what you believe in, unless money is involved.”
While the Boy Scouts’ leaders will probably preach that they now believe in equality and gay rights, it is blatantly obvious that they are just trying to save their skin. It also seems a little fishy that the organization hasn’t released any information on why they are considering the change.
It wasn’t until recent opposition by local scout groups that the BSA even began to talk about the change.
Most of that pressure was lead by Zach Wahls, a 21-year-old former Eagle Scout, who partnered with an LGBT group and lead a petition drive on change.org, urging companies to withdraw support of the Boy Scouts.
The 30,000 signatures got Intel’s attention, and the campaign hopes to gain even more momentum.
However, these campaigns can only do so much. If the ban is lifted, it is still up to local organizations to determine whether or not they will accept gay scouts and leaders.
Since a majority of the troops are affiliated with churches in some way, these groups could still require the troops they sponsor to discriminate.
When it all comes down to it, there is still a long fight ahead for sexual orientation equality. However, with the constant pressure on the BSA, this potential policy change is a start.
So goes that word progression, it is only a matter of time before the LGBT community says “enough is enough.”
And if the Boy Scouts don’t change, that slogan could come at their expense.