A few days have passed since the Boy Scouts of America made the historic move to drop the ban on gay Scouts. GLAAD posted immediate reactions to the vote for inclusion hours after it happened. Over the past few days, more reactions have been offered on this issue.
The Religious Institute, an organization focused on advocating for sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society, issued a statement that they are celebrating the new policy with hopes that it will provide safety and inclusiveness for all members.
"The Religious Institute celebrates the Boy Scouts of America voting by a large margin to welcome young men who are gay into scouting. This opens the Boy Scouts to thousands of young men who have not previously been welcome," stated Rev. Debra W. Haffner, executive director. "We urge the Boy Scouts to provide training and support to troops so that they are fully inclusive and safe for all members. And we offer prayers that the Boy Scouts in the not too distant future will also welcome all qualified adult scout leaders without discrimination based on their sexual orientation."
The Religious Institute works side-by-side with LGBT advocacy organizations to promote equality throughout all aspects of life.
The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists also issued a statement in response to the lift of the ban. The statement said that they pray the decision will allow for more inclusive churches to charter BSA troops now that they are heading in a more inclusive direction.
"The Association of Welcoming & Affirming Baptists affirms the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to allow all boys to participate in their programs regardless of their sexual orientation. We pray that this opening will help churches that want to charter a troop but are concerned about the policies of exclusion to feel more confident as the BSA moves toward a fully inclusive policy. We look forward to the day when scout leaders can be who they are too, and when the grounding ethics of BSA will be fully realized as an historic organization devoted to nurturing young men as they become good citizens and fully actualized human beings."
The Jewish community is also in favor of the Scouts decision. A.J. Kreimer, the chairman of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting, commented in favor of the outcome in the Global Jewish News Source.
“Anything we can do to get more young people, especially Jewish youth, involved is a great day for Judaism and for Scouting." stated A.J. Kreimer, chairman of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.
Even though these religious organizations, as well as many others, support this victory, they recognize that there is much more work to do. Faith organizations will continue to advocate towards full equality in Scouting, which would include not only gay Scouts, but also gay leaders.
GLAAD, in association with Change.org, Scouts for Equality (SFE), and the Inclusive Scouting Network (ISN), delivered over 1.8 million signatures to the BSA urging them to drop their discriminatory ban on gay members.
For photos, video, resources and more, please visithttp://glaad.org/scouts
For a full timeline of events leading up to today's vote, please visithttp://glaad.org/scouts