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:

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight 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

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.