Right now, pretty much the entire country is transfixed by the wild hunt for 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tarnael, the Chechan college student suspected of teaming up with his brother to bomb the Boston Marathon. Or, if they're not focused on that, they're tracking the fallout from Wednesday's freak fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. Maybe there are some still combing through the details of the arrest affidavits for the murder of the Kaufman County prosecutors. Gay Boy Scouts are the furthest thing from people's minds.
So it's probably not a coincidence that Irving-based Boy Scouts of America chose this moment to announce that it plans to end its ban on gay members and volunteers. Reuters broke the news this morning.
The change will have to be approved by BSA's board in May, but spokesman Deron Smith told the news agency that the plan is that "no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." The welcome does not extend to gay adults who want to serve as leaders.
Such a move was hinted at earlier this year, when Smith said the BSA was "actively considering" such a measure. But that trial balloon seemed to deflate when the board of directors delayed its decision on the issue.
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This comes amidst mounting pressure from former scouts, GLBT advocates, and, most importantly, corporate backers. Almost as loud have been the voices from the opposite side of the culture war, who have cited the case as a prime example of their unintentionally ironic trope of bullying by gay activists and predict that it will lead to a wave of gay converts and molestations. Expect a lot more of that.