Following a historic vote by the leadership of the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) to allow participation by boys who claim to be homosexual, both gay activist groups and conservative, pro-family organizations expressed disapproval of the Scouting program, but for very different reasons. Sixty-one percent of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s national council voted May 23 to allow boys who say they are homosexual to become members. The change will go into effect January 1, 2014.

In July of last year the BSA leadership concluded a two-year closed-door study by re-affirming the group’s ban on homosexual scout leaders, a policy that has been in place for the Boy Scouts’ entire 103-year history. Homosexual activists responded by launching an aggressive campaign to force the BSA to change its policy, which has included convincing some of the BSA’s large-scale corporate donors to drop their financial commitments to the group.

The BSA leadership emphasized that the ban against homosexual Scout leaders would remain in place. Tico Perez, commissioner of the BSA’s National Council, told reporters that prohibition has “served us well for 100 years.”

Response from homosexual spokespersons to the BSA policy change was lukewarm at best, with most noting the continued ban against homosexual leaders. “Today is a historic day for Boy Scouts across the country who want to be a part of this great American institution,” said Chad Griffin of the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign. “But the new policy doesn’t go far enough. Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans.”

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