Pushback from parents helps weaken Boy Scouts’ iron wall against gay members
The foot soldiers of the revolution that struck the Boy Scouts of America last week worked for no general, followed no strategy, represented no cause. Denise Steele just wanted to be part of her son’s Scouting experience in Loudoun County — and couldn’t fathom why she, alone among the parents in her boy’s den, was not permitted to join him at Boy Scouts summer camp. In Silver Spring, Rick Meyerdirk was driven by the sweet idea that his son Tyler might join Boy Scout Troop 1444, the same troop Meyerdirk had been in as a kid, meaning that the son’s name might end up on the same plaque as the father’s. What stood in the way of those simple goals was the Boy Scouts’ policy prohibiting gays from being Scouts or parent volunteers — a policy that the organization announced last week it may reverse at its board meeting on Wednesday. What pushed the Scouts to this turning point was a combination of declining membership, financial pressure from donors, and the street-level reality embodied by people like a straight couple in Silver Spring who want the Scouts to be open to all and a lesbian mother in Northern Virginia who saw Scouting as a great way to serve her community and connect with her son.