After a two-year review of its controversial policy, an internal BSA committee unanimously agreed that the regulation should remain in place.
The 11-member committee of BSA volunteers and “professional leaders” was convened in 2010 at the behest of the agency’s president and Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca.
The organization will not release the names of the committeemembers or details of its report. The agency said the panel was comprised of people with a “diversity of perspectives and opinions” and came to its conclusion after “forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations, both from within scouting and from outside the organization.”
On account of the committee recommendation, the BSA has declined to take action on a resolution recently submitted calling for the lifting of the ban.
“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” Mazzuca said in a statement. “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
In the past few months, the policy has taken increasing heat from both outside of and within its ranks.
Earlier on Tuesday, BSA executive board member Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, came out in favor of the repeal of the policy. Stephenson joins fellow board member and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley, who last month voiced his opposition to the measure.
Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian den mother who was ousted from her position because of her orientation, began a Change.org petition in the spring calling for the end of the ban. The petition has since garnered more than 300,000 signatures.
“A secret committee of 11 people can’t ignore the hundreds of thousands of people around the country — including thousands of Eagle Scouts, scout families and former scouts — that want the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders removed,” Tyrrell said in a statement this week. “This campaign doesn’t stop, and we will continue to show the Boy Scouts that discrimination and intolerance have no place in scouting.”
Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said the internal review was a “missed opportunity of colossal proportions.”
“With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued. These adults could have taught the next generation of leaders the value of respect, yet they’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.”