This Monday the Boy Scouts of America released a press statement that fired up the Internet. One would have thought gay men everywhere where pouring into streets to celebrate the end of homonegativity--or perhaps climbing up to the mountain tops to shout "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
I'm keeping my hiking boots off. I don't see any need to rush to a mountain top just yet.
Let's look at what the Scouts actually had to say for themselves. As with most things, the devil is in the details. Read closely.
"Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families."
What does this really mean? It means that if the Boy Scouts make this change, troops that are in areas that are already supportive of gay youth will continue to be supportive of gay youth. Young gay men can be scouts and adult gay men can be scout leaders. Great. Fantastic. Progress.
The fine print also means that troops that are in areas that don't support gay youth will continue to be unsupportive of gay youth. In fact, 70% of Scout troops are chartered by religious organizations. Who honestly thinks that those religious groups that busy themselves with pray-away-the-gay charlatan therapy will suddenly start accepting gay youth into the scouts?
Come on. Raise your hand if you think this will happen.
I didn't think so.