On Wednesday, the national board of the Boy Scouts of America delayed its decision on whether to end the organization’s national ban on gay Scouts and scoutmasters until May, citing the need for more deliberation. BSA’s gay ban has caused several of its major sponsors to pull funding in recent years, and the organization announced on January 28 that it would consider ending the policy; the board has been deliberating the decision since Monday.
“We all understand that BSA is under pressure from opposing sides of the issue, but they have had plenty of time to think about this,” says Theresa Phillips, committee chair of Pack 442 in Maryland, which was forced to take down its non-discrimination statement last month. “The Boy Scouts needs to wake up and realize gay and lesbians have just as much of a right to be part of the scouting program as anyone else.”
Even if the Boy Scouts decide later this year to overturn the ban, the decision on whether to allow gay members will be left to local troops—a move that gay advocates say is a cop-out, as local troops would still be allowed to discriminate.
The Boy Scouts have a long history of discrimination against gay members—and over the years, gay people aren’t the only minority group the Scouts have excluded. Here’s a timeline you won’t find on the Boy Scouts’ website: