A different view on the gay Scouts policy.
On Thursday, the national Boy Scouts of America Council voted to allow openly gay Scouts in the organization.
Though it is hard to believe that in 2013 this would even be controversial, an affirmative vote is a step in the right direction. Honoring the Boy Scouts' philosophy and creed is consistent with undoing the harm connected with barring openly gay Scouts.
In the past, the organization's stance has forced gay boys to deny one the most fundamental aspects of themselves through the use of shame and threat of expulsion.
However, even though the nonprofit has changed its membership policy, we are left with the ban on adult Scout leaders. Reminiscent of the bind girls and kids of color have historically struggled with in this society, gay Scouts are being told, "You can be in our club, but you aren't worthy to be leaders."
Clearly, the message to our young gay boys and youth remains, "You are fundamentally flawed, perverse and a danger to children once you reach adulthood."
These perspectives, anchored in interpretations of religious texts by particular groups and individuals, have been debunked by a long list of respected, mainstream medical and mental-health organizations for years.
And, as we are now seeing over and over, the majority of U.S. society knows this and embraces a stance of love, justice and full equality for gay adults, kids and families. Most young adults who have grown up with peers of all sexual orientations just don't see what all the fuss is about.
Indeed, Thursday was a day to remember: the day the Boy Scouts did the right thing by lifting the ban on gay Scouts — an important step toward eliminating prejudice and discrimination from their membership policy and bringing it more closely into alignment with their organizational values of moral integrity and respect for others.
However, even as the Boy Scouts have taken a step forward by opening the doors to gay boys, clearly a cause for celebration, the decision is bittersweet. That's because the veil of prejudice, ignorance and its attendant harmful effects will remain until the Scouts decide to welcome gay leaders as well.
Our children reach their full potential when they can be who they are in an environment of safety and support by enlightened adults who embody the honor that is so precious to the Boy Scouts of America.
Kathryn L. Norsworthy is a counseling psychologist and professor of graduate studies in counseling at Rollins College and a member of the Orlando Anti-Discrimination Ordinance Committee.
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