A Christian legal group described the Boy Scouts of America Executive Committee's decision on Thursday to change its longstanding membership policy and allow Scouts to be of any "sexual orientation or preference" as a rejection of its freedom to promote values that the group has held for the last century.
"Sadly, the Boy Scouts Executive National Council's decision disregards not only the nearly 19,000 Americans who signed a petition urging BSA to 'uphold the values that have defined the organization for over 100 years,' but also the millions of Americans who have supported the program," stated Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman shortly after the decision.
"Those promoting the agenda to change what the Boy Scouts have always been won't rest until there is complete acceptance of any sexual preference for both leaders and members. With its decision today, BSA has rejected its freedom to promote and practice the values that have served to shape our nation's boys into leaders for the last century," Cortman said.
In a letter sent to BSA in March, ADF stated that the Boy Scouts were in a unique position.
"Its brave stand for the right of private associations to adhere to moral values set a national precedent that has protected not only BSA and its members, but countless other organizations that also require members to affirm and abide by their morals and values," ADF concluded in its letter. "We are well aware of the growing tide of voices calling for BSA to abandon its principles. But now is not the time to walk away from these long-held moral principles. Standing firm requires bravery the type of courage that has epitomized BSA and its members for over a hundred years. It is a bravery noted by the Court in Dale, which said that 'the fact that an idea may be embraced and advocated by increasing numbers of people is all the more reason to protect the First Amendment rights of those who wish to voice a different view.'"
On Thursday, after a contentious challenge to their membership policy, 1,400 delegates of the 103-year-old Boy Scouts of America youth organization voted overwhelmingly to adopt an amendment that effectively lifts the ban on homosexual youth in the organization.
The ban on gay adult scout leaders will remain.
Sixty-one percent of the delegates voted in favor of the resolution while 39 percent voted against it at the organization's National Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas.
Along with its initial reaction statement to the BSA decision, ADF posted an editorial cartoon for distribution, in which an angry-looking bear labeled "Today's 'Tolerance'" is eyeing a Boy Scout from a tree, and the scout is thinking, "I don't remember a merit badge for this."