Scouts' honor?: A compromise on gays leaves everyone dissatisfied

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The Boy Scouts of America have offered a compromise on membership for gays that is guaranteed to make almost everyone unhappy. It's as if the organization is working on a badge for waffle making rather than bravely declaring a sensible, overdue change.

In an attempt to move from old-fashioned prejudice when obsession about sexual orientation is on the wane in American life, the organization's national leadership previously had proposed that individual troops and troop sponsors be allowed to accept homosexuals as scouts and leaders.

Leaving the issue to local choice would have been no solution; imagine a U.S. military in which some bases are integrated and others are not.

After an outcry on all sides, it is now proposed that gays be allowed as scouts nationwide but that adults who are homosexual still be barred from being leaders. That half-loaf will be submitted for a vote next month to the BSA's National Council.

This is not about sexualizing the scouting movement. Indeed, the proposed compromise has specific language emphasizing that "any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of scouting age is contrary to the virtues of scouting."

A real resolution would accept gays, adults and youths, as people worthy of respect and dignity, something denied to them often in the name of morality. There's no going halves on that.



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