Timeline: The Boy Scouts’ Long History of Anti-Gay Discrimination

The Boy Scouts of America have been fighting gay members for decades.

Boy scouts and their families deliver 1.4 million signatures protesting the ban. GLAAD

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:

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate