Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates said the group must “deal with the world as it is” and called for an end to the ban on gay adults during its annual meeting Thursday.
“I am not asking the national board for any action to change our current policy at this meeting,” Gates said. “But I must speak as plainly and bluntly to you as I spoke to presidents when I was director of CIA and secretary of defense. We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”
He also said the BSA would not revoke charters for chapters that defied the longstanding order against homosexuals as scout leader or other official roles.
“We can expect more councils to openly challenge the current policy,” he said. “While technically we have the authority to revoke their charters, such an action would deny the lifelong benefits of scouting to hundreds of thousands of boys and young men today and vastly more in the future. I will not take that path.”
Recent legal cases and state law changes had put the BSA in the unsustainable position, Gates said. He also said making changes would allow the organization “to seize control of our own future” by setting policies allowing chapter sponsors to determine their own standards on scout leaders.