Aloha Council Votes to Lift Ban on Gay Scouts
By Wendy Osher
The Aloha Council in Hawaiʻi joined fellow councils across the nation in casting a vote in support of revising a long-standing membership policy for the Boy Scouts of America relating to sexual identity.
The vote effectively lifts a ban on openly gay scouts, who previously would have been denied membership in the organization on the basis of sexual orientation alone.
Aloha Council director of field service, Billy Rayl, issued a statement following the vote saying, “The Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America supported the national resolution because we believe Scouting should be available to all young people.”
He continued saying, “The policy revision reinforces our mission to prepare young people to become responsible, participating citizens and leaders in our communities.”
The Aloha Council for the Boy Scouts of America reportedly serves an estimated 13,000 young people in Hawaiʻi, Guam, American Samoa, and the Pacific. Leaders say it is one of 290 councils that make of the Boy Scouts of America.
A statement issued by the Boy Scouts of America says that, “While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. Going forward, our Scouting family will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth in order to help them grow into good, strong citizens.”
Rayl said the conversation within the Boy Scouts of America organization “mirrors the dialogue that is occurring across the county. “They reflect the changing world that we live in and expectations of our community that Scouting continues to be a place for all young people to develop life skills, leadership and citizenship,” said Rayl.