The Boy Scouts of America made history yesterday by voting to allow openly gay members into their ranks, but a New York lawmaker says they haven’t gone far enough.
Though it’s a progressive step for the 103-year-old institution, they’re still upholding their ban on openly gay leaders, and State Senator Brad Hoylman is not only stating his opposition, but introducing legislation that would remove the New York-based organization’s tax-exempt status if they continue the policy.
“It’s inconceivable that an organization that aims to prepare the next generation of leaders would allow gay youth to join their program, but deny them the opportunity to lead scout troops once adults,” Mr. Hoylman said in a statement.
If passed, the bill to “End Tax Exempt Status for Discriminatory Youth Organizations Like the Scouts” would deny tax-exempt status to any youth organization that discriminates on the basis of sexuality, gender identity, or other identifying characteristics like nationality, race, religion or body type.
“As the only openly-gay New York State Senator, a parent and a former Eagle Scout (Troop 70, Lewisburg, WV), I am outraged that the BSA has maintained its ban on gay adult leaders,” the senator said. “This policy represents rank discrimination by the organization against LGBT people and is extremely painful to families like mine.”
He added, “I strongly believe that the BSA is obliged by the Constitution of the United States, longstanding state and local anti-discrimination laws and the Scout Law itself to categorically end its policy of bigotry toward gays and lesbians.”
We reached out to the Boy Scouts of America and they have yet to comment.