Under the threat of losing its charter, a local Maryland Cub Scout pack has ended its LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination policy. The group's National Capital Area Council of the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) charter is set to expire Jan. 31, according to a statement posted on the pack's website.
The statement from Pack 442 of Cloverly, Md., reads: "Due to pressure from the National Capital Area Council of BSA, Pack 442 was forced to remove its Non-Discrimination statement in order to keep our charter. This Non-Discrimination statement, previously posted here, welcomed ALL families. ... Pack 442 will continue to provide a wonderful and enriching program for scouts and families in the community."
Under BSA policy, gay people are prohibited from being scouts or serving as leaders, putting Pack 442's policy at odds with the parent organization.
Meanwhile, NBC News reported today that the BSA ban on gay members and leaders may be comging to an end with the national board considering repealing it. The ban, long a source of controversy, made headlines after San Francisco-area Scout Ryan Andresen was denied Eagle rank because he is gay, and Jennifer Tyrell, an Ohio den mother of her son’s Tiger Cub pack, was dismissed because she is a lesbian.
According to NBC News, BSA's board of directors is considering a policy that would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations to decide their own policies, as Pack 442 did when its member families "overwhelmingly approved" the nondiscrimination policy in August 2012.
NBC News reports that the change, if approved, could be announced as early as next week. The national organization previously decided to uphold the ban in July, with the executive board calling it "the best policy" for the organization. But Scout officials say that grassroots actions by local chapters, like Pack 442, are part of the reason the organization is re-evaluating the existing ban.
For now, Pack 442 has – at least temporarily – rescinded its nondiscrimination policy in order to re-charter. The pack posted a poll on its website last week that asked members whether to keep the policy and risk losing their charter, or to return to a "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" sort of policy that would welcome all families so long as they do not disclose their sexual orientation.
[Photo: Ryan Andresen, the California teen denied Eagle Scout rank because he is gay (courtesy of Change.org)]