The Boy Scouts of America voted Thursday to allow openly gay scouts to join the organization, to take effect January 1.
On the opening day of its two-day meeting in Dallas, Texas, roughly 1,400 volunteer leaders from scouting’s 270 councils approved the BSA’s proposal. However, the organization’s ban on gay adults will continue.
Outside the conference center where the national council was meeting, dozens of Christian conservatives waved flags and demonstrated against the change.
“We’re trying to uphold traditional values,” Bill Lizzio, a 56-year-old scout leader from Tennessee, told The New York Times.
There is still work to be done. We need to allow LGB adults to participate. We need to allow trans scouts and leaders. We need to change the homophobic culture of organizations rooted in conservative values.
But for now, we rejoice in this small, but significant victory. Way to go, guys.
The Peace Corps announced yesterday it will now accept applications from same-sex couples who want to serve overseas. Couples will be required to sign an affidavit verifying their relationship and will be placed in countries that are determined safe for LGBT people.
“The Peace Corps has long looked to expand opportunities to serve and reflect the diversity of the United States in its volunteers abroad,” reads a supplemental statement released by the Peace Corps. “In 2009, President Obama directed agencies to take steps, where possible, to expand access and benefits to the LGBT community, and that also drove the development of this policy. The agency has recognized an interest among prospective volunteers and believes same-sex couples will bring new skills and experiences to the field that will benefit the organization.
“… The Peace Corps will only consider placement of same-sex couples in countries where homosexual acts are not criminalized. There are many factors that affect ultimate placements, including applicants’ overall competitiveness, program availability, departure dates, medical accommodations and safety.”
The application process for same-sex couples opens officially on June 3. Woohoo!
The House of Commons in the United Kingdom voted yesterday to pass a marriage equality bill, bringing England and Wales one step closer to embracing same-sex marriage.
The measure passed by 366 to 161 and will now go before the House of Lords. Prime Minister David Cameron has also expressed his support for the bill and hopes same-sex marriages will begin taking place by next summer.
Tensions between Downing Street and grassroots Conservatives, which have focused on the issue of Europe in recent weeks, have been exacerbated by the same-sex marriage proposals.
But Culture Secretary Maria Miler said it was an issue of equality, to which MPs had to show their “commitment”.
For Labour, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Let’s celebrate, not discriminate. Let’s put aside the anger and hear it for the joy.”
Yes. Let’s hear it for the joy.
Charlize Theron out in West Hollywood, May 16th
Rep. Greg Harris, the chief sponsor of a bill to legalize marriage equality in the state of Illinois, says he is ready to call for a House vote on the bill to pass it before the end of May. He says he’s confident it will pass.
“When I put it up on the board, it’s going to go up to win,” Harris said, adding that he would “absolutely” call for a vote on the measure before spring session ends May 31.
“This issue is at the front and center of virtually every conversation going on in Springfield,” Harris said.
Harris declined to offer a specific date for the vote or a count on the roll call. The bill needs 60 votes to pass the House. It has already cleared the Senate.
Let’s go. I’m ready. It’s our turn.