Starting next year, the Boy Scouts of America will no longer forbid openly gay youths from participating in its activities. Bob Hopper is the executive director for the Mid Iowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He attended last week’s meeting in Grapeville, Texas where the new policy was approved. “I think, from my perspective as CEO of the Mid Iowa Council – we served about 20,000 members in central Iowa – I’m for kids. This decision was based on helping as many kids as possible who want to be a part of our program,” Hopper said. “I think it’s a nice, positive thing for children.”
The ban for openly gay adults from leadership roles with the Scouts is still in effect. Hopper said he respects everyone’s opinion on the issue, but he believes all boys can benefit from Scouting. “The idea of opening up our organization to openly gay individuals has been very divisive. A lot of the initial conversation was about having gay adults in Scouting. That quickly got placed aside because it was so emotional for so many people,” Hopper said. “The idea of making sure our program is available to youth, certainly had a lot more positive reaction.”
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America said the 103-year-old organization “will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive and unresolved societal issue.” The policy will take effect January 1, 2014.
by Pat Powers, KQWC