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The Boy Scouts of America took a step toward equal rights today after more than 60% of its 1,400 or so delegates voted to no longer ban underage homosexuals from the organization. The move was greeted with enthusiastic endorsements from some and fire and brimstone condemnations from others, but all involved agreed the decision was an extremely historic moment for the 103-year-old group.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the vote was held during the organization’s annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas. It was well-attended by both advocates for gay rights and the religious right, but in the end, the vote came down to the feelings of the common members of the national council who weighed in this afternoon by secret ballot. Years ago, getting sixty percent of leaders to accept homosexual scouts would have been almost unthinkable, but the United States as a whole has rapidly moved toward tolerance over the past decade or so.
Moving forward, if the organization would like to fashion itself as one serving the needs of the larger country and not just a bigoted minority, voters will eventually need to approve the inclusion of adults of all sexual orientations. Considering that wasn’t even on the ballot this time around, it will likely be years before that happens, but if current momentum continues, it seems likely that will happen sooner or later.
Pop Blend’s sincerest congratulations go out to the more than 60% of the voting members who picked inclusion today. There’s no greater lesson a child can be taught than to treat his or her fellow human beings with a fundamental kindness and tolerance.