New Policy on Gay Boy Scouts Goes into Effect, No "Mass Exodus" Quite Yet 

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 1 2014 4:35 PM

New Policy on Gay Boy Scouts Goes into Effect, No "Mass Exodus" Quite Yet

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A former scout leader—who was ejected for being openly gay—embraces her son, who will probably never understand how the Boy Scouts could maintain such a ridiculously malevolent and homophobic policy in 2014.

Photo by Stewart House/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts' new policy welcoming openly gay scouts went into effect—to little fanfare or protest. Several religious groups had promised a "mass exodus" once the gay ban be lifted, but few, it seems, were prepared to follow through. From ThinkProgress:

A BSA spokesman noted that the vast majority of religious groups have stayed with the organization despite the policy shift. The BSA estimates that less than 2 percent of its 116,000 Scout units were abandoned by their sponsors.
And even in some very conservative places, those abandoned troops have found new backers. Joey Kiker, spokesman for the Greater Alabama Council in Birmingham, told a local newpsaper that while a few churches that sponsored Scout units have left, “every single unit that lost a charter partner, within an hour, had a new charter partner.” And Brad Haddock, a national board member from Wichita, Kansas likened the warnings to the Y2K scare. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of fallout,” he told the Associated Press, observing that “If a church said they wouldn’t work with us, we’d have a church right down the street say, ‘We’ll take the troop.’”
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Despite the welcome change in rules, all openly gay scouts will still be ejected once they turn 18, and openly gay scout leaders are still forbidden. That policy has led several corporate sponsors—including heavyweight Lockheed Martin—to yank funding of the organization.

Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

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