Most Americans support lifting ban on gay Boy Scouts

(Eric Gay/AP) A wide majority of Americans support the Boy Scouts of America’s proposal to admit gay scouts for the … Continued

(Eric Gay/AP)

A wide majority of Americans support the Boy Scouts of America’s proposal to admit gay scouts for the first time, and most oppose the organization’s plans to continue to bar gay adults from serving as scout leaders, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The century-old group’s National Council will gather later in May to vote on the plan, unveiled last month, which would allow gay scouts but maintain a ban on gay scout masters. In splitting the decision, the group may be trying to modernize while continuing to appeal to a diversity of views on homosexuality — seven in 10 scout groups are chartered by religious institutions.

In the new poll, 63 percent of Americans support allowing gay scouts to join, and the public opposes the plan to continue to ban gay adults from Boy Scout leadership by a 56 to 39 percent margin. The results contrast with a USA Today/Gallup poll last year, where only 42 percent said openly gay adults should be able to serve as leaders.

Opposition to banning gay scout leaders ranges by religious group and along well-worn political fault lines. A 56 percent majority of Catholics oppose the continued ban on gay scout masters, a number that rises to 75 percent among people who identify as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular. By contrast, Protestants are closely divided, 49 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing the ban on gay scout leaders. While the new survey did not ask Protestants whether they identify as “born-again or evangelical Christians,” surveys have consistently shown evangelical Christians are more conservative than mainline protestants issues of homosexuality.

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Partisanship also plays a key role fully 68 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of independents oppose the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay leaders, while 61 percent of Republicans support the plan. There is a far smaller divide along parental lines: Similar majorities of Americans with children at home and those without them are opposed to continuing the ban on gay scout leaders.

Scott Clement is a polling analyst with Capital Insight, the independent polling group of Washington Post media. Capital Insight Director Jon Cohen and pollster Peyton M. Craighill contributed to this report.

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  • Eric Carlson

    The BSA is a private, non-profit organization that is entitled to restrict its membership any way it likes. The Girl Scouts don’t permit boys in the troops. The Boy Scouts, aside from the separate “Venture” crews, do not allow girls into the Boy Scout Troops. If you are a Muslim, you are not going to attend Catholic mass every Sunday will you? No of course not. Bottom line, if you do not like the Boy Scouts policies on membership… Don’t join. Start your own group or join one that has membership policies that more closely align to your lifestyle. Sure, just like any group they have had their issues, but they have been working diligently to improve their youth protection plans. You can only fix things when you know there is a problem. The Two Deep leadership and buddy system are designed to protect the youth, and every adult takes a youth protection training course. All of these practices are just like a fence or a lock on a door. They are deterrents, nothing is foolproof, but the BSA’s policies are solid and work, as long as they are followed. Leave the Scouts alone. They have been doing a good job in helping boys grow into good citizens for over a century.

  • Jack Wolford

    A new Test to be a Boy Scout Scoutmaster is if you ask why it is that girls aren’t allowed . That person must be stupid !!

  • jackbooted

    The United States does not stand for anything anymore and so we fall and will fail at everything.

  • jackbooted

    And so my points were to poignant for the Post?

    Let’s see if this is simple enough.

    15yr’s old….can’t fight, can’t vote, can’t drink, can’t drive, but morning after pils, and abortions are OK.
    Parents are just Special Interests to be ignored or dealt with. And so are the ideals of the BSA?

    I was an abused 11yr old in the Scouts and the “public” thinks they have an opinion and a say in the matter of the BSA? Does anyone remember the word or what it means…temptation?

    Why do we have separate resroom facilities???????

  • larryclyons

    what it no longer stands for is your particular brand of hatred and bigotry.

  • larryclyons

    since the BSA uses pubic facilites and lands for free or at a reduced price it is no longer just a private organization. Therefore they can either accept without discrimination or they can give up all those government perks they’re getting.

    That would be a cold day in hell when they do that.

  • Screamin Eagle

    He is not a hater nor a bigot..I said so. So your opinion is just opinion. 2 vs 1 so far!

  • Screamin Eagle

    Proof…. offer proof of you accusation that BSA is getting reduced or free stuff from government.

  • PeterC613

    As a kid, my scout troop got to meet in our local community center at no charge. When our district camporees took over the local public park, the city provided portapotties, a portable PA stage with lighting, a generator and mobil first aid trailer – all at no charge. I was staff at Sea Base, the scout boating facility in Newport Beach, CA. We were on prime waterfront multimillion dollar property right next to the BalBoa bay Club (the most exclusive private club in Orange County at that time) with John Wane’s boat right out front. The Base paid no rent to the city for the property. I also staffed two other summer camps at Catalina Island and Anza Borrego, both of which enjoyed long term leases on Island Conservantacy or Forrest Service land at free or minimal rates. As an adult volinteer, I participated in planning regional events and staffing national Jamborees – most of our logistical requirements were provided at no charge by the local community. The scouts have a long history of free contribution and support from public enteties. That’s why they are having a problem with municipalities as a private organization that utilized public facilities at little or no cost.

  • Screamin Eagle

    I think the key ingredient in the last post was “when I was a kid”. The National Jamboree will be held on private land this year. Our Cub Pack had to move several years ago from meeting in a school gym to a church since the school wanted to charge $50 per meeting(that’s a lot for a small pack). Each camporee, we have to rent out own Porta-potties and they are not provided on government dime at all. If anything is rent free or lower payments, I’m sure it is also given to other non-profit groups as well. Also, could vary be region. Being in the South, people are very Scout friendly and we are probably the most adament about BSA not changing policy. We still have people fighting to have the Ten Commandments in the courthouses. Anyway, if the communities support scouts then that’s the way it will be. I’m sure someone down here might not like it, but then again we don’t tend to have a lot of open activism and they are being tolerant of the communiites wishes.

  • Mike Wilson

    Thank God most Americans who participate don’t have a say in what the Boy Scouts Do. I hope and pray the 1400 voters do the right thing and vote down any policy change in the BSA

  • jay2drummer

    There’s nothing right about blatant discrimination

  • DW123

    In this article, we read:

    “In splitting the decision, the group may be trying to modernize while continuing to appeal to a diversity of views on homosexuality…”

    What makes the author(s) of the article think that compromising the long standing traditions of the BSA constitutes “modernization”?

  • DW123

    What is the justification for this debate even being in the public domain? Since the BSA is a private organization, the opinions of the general public should be irrelevant, so long as the BSA operates lawfully. A better poll would have been to survey the BSA leadership and parents on the matter.

    If the issue is decided by a national poll of the general citizenry, it will set a dangerous precedent. It would mean that lawful rules and regulations of any private organization in the country could be altered by pressure from the public at large. One could argue that it would in spirit violate the Freedom of Association guaranteed by the 1st amendment to the US Constitution.

  • BePrepared

    To all you stupid people below. Gay people are a part of society. They always have been and they always will be. They are not pedophiles; they are not a religion, they are not bad people any more than anyone else. When you segregate people based on who they are you accomplish two things. The segregated ones are hurt and demoralized and the non segregated ones learn that bigotry is acceptable.

    You can’t hide your bigotry behind the guise that a private organization should have the right to deny access to whom ever they want. Would it be acceptable if the BSA disallowed short people, or those that are too brown, or those handicapped? And by the way, if you think being gay is a choice you’re even dumber than the bigots.

    BSA should embrace gay people like they have so many other groups. They should hold them up to and teach them the same moral fundamentals that they are known for and, until recently, respected for. Because that is what Boy Scouts is all about, learning to live a moral life. Whether they want to admit it or not, gay adults and children have been part of Boy Scouting since the beginning.

    Stop the hatred, spread the love.

  • Screamin Eagle

    Did you just say stop the hatred, spread the love and start the the post by saying “all you stupid people below? ” Thank you for that post cause it truly demonstrates how confused you people are! That about says it all for the Pro-gay movement!

  • Screamin Eagle

    Maybe the BSA should just shut down…if America now demonizes a group that has a great reputation for building better youth and upholding moral values..perhaps it’s time has past, and America doesn’t deserve the BSA. Better to go out with honor than to be gradually torn to shreds by lawyers and compromisers of the true values of BSA…Yes, shut er down! Yes, we upholders of American values are now dinosaurs and are antiquated. Time for us to retire and watch the new order arise.

  • jay2drummer

    Because BSA is a Congressionally chartered organization. Because BSA gets it’s money from donations from that charter. Because despite what ScreamingEagle claims, many BSA troops do get special rates and privileges at places like parks. If BSA was being forced by law to end discrimination, it might be an issue with freedom of association, but people can voice opinions all they want (you know, freedom of expression) and can do what they want with their money, including pressuring those they contribute to to end contributions to BSA. And this isn’t a long standing tradition. The ban on gays was the product of pressure from Mormon and Catholic groups in the 80s that lead to the redefinition of “morally straight” to mean “not gay”. Recognizing that there is nothing wrong with gay people, as shown by science, is modernization.

  • lenbiz68

    What this article doesn’t tell you is that over 60% of CURRENT leaders, volunteers, and Scouts OPPOSE the suggestion.

    You people are despicable: You don’t believe in the tenets of Scouting, but you believe you have the right to bully them into accepting YOUR beliefs!

    START YOUR OWN ORGANIZATION, and stick your nose in your own business!

  • Brent L. Worthington

    If you do the research and not rely on popular opinion you will understand the truth behind gay behavior.
    There are no genetic conditions that predetermine gay behavior, there are influences of choice. There are no biological conditions that predetermine gay behavior, there are influences of choice. There are no hormonal conditions that predetermine gay behavior, there are influences of choice.There are no environmental conditions that predetermine gay behavior, there are influences of choice. There are no psychological conditions that predetermine gay behavior, there are influences of choice. There is always a psychological issue to gay behavior, similar to all behaviors such as smoking cigarettes. Something as mild as low self esteem can influence you into a choice.
    Let me explain to you what a genetic and biological influence is. If you are tall, thin, athletic and like to run you may be influenced to be a basketball player ( genetic, heredity ). Because you want to be a basketball player, the hand eye coordination portion of the brain becomes overdeveloped ( biological ). Everyone tells you, because you are tall – thin – athletic and like to run, that you should be a basketball player ( environment ).
    Not all tall people are basketball players. Not all thin people are basketball players. Not all athletic people are basket players. Not all people who like to run are basketball players. If that is what you are drawn to because of your influences, you will most likely be a basketball player ( choice ).
    I have about 600 hours of research on this topic. This is truth. This is not hate or discrimination. If you do not believe what I am saying do the research yourself and not the believe the rhetoric that has been passed around for the last forty or so years.
    If you choose to be gay, it is your prerogative to be what you want to be. I want to help gay people understand how they were influenced into their behavior, not criticize.

  • An-Toan

    Your analysis reflects a three-dimensional, materialistic, and false point of view. “Straight, bi, gay” . . . these are social constructs that were invented in the West less than two centuries ago. Sexuality cannot be separated from spirituality, regardless of “sexual orientation. LGBT is good. This clearly is evidenced by the considerable contributions of great people in history who were or are not “straight”.

  • An-Toan

    Wow . . . how bold of you to suggest that being pro-LGBT has something to do with the rise of a Satanic New World Order.

    Screamin Eagle . . . do you know the scriptures? Have you actually studied them? The Bible condones genocide, slavery, ritual human sacrifice, and animal abuse. It also prescribes the death penalty for the following activities, among others:

    Working on Saturday
    A betrothed woman who does not cry out while being raped
    A woman who is found not to have been a virgin on the night of her wedding
    Worshiping other gods
    Children who are rude to parents

    This god murders and commands followers to murder. So tell me . . . if the Bible is the literal and infallible word of a god, how is anyone supposed to believe that this god is not an evil god? Is it more reasonable to infer that the Bible may contain inspired writings, allegory, and myth?

  • An-Toan

    The Jesus was not anti-LGBT. From your days in Sunday School, perhaps you recall the gospel story in which the Jesus healed the servant of a Roman centurion. In the original Greek, the word that the Roman centurion uses in this passage to describe the sick man – pais – is the same word used in ancient Greek to refer to a same-gender partner. The Jesus NEVER had ANYTHING negative to say about same gender couples or same sex sex.

    The spirituality of sexuality, regardless of “sexual orientation”, endures independent from the dogmas of any and all religions.

  • cricket44

    Lift the ban. If you’re going to make half the people mad either way, might as well do the right thing!

  • dcrswm

    The BSA doesn’t have to do anything. How is it wrong for private citizens to criticize a “public” organization for discriminatory practices?

  • dcrswm

    You’re wrong Jay, discrimination is the morally right thing to do when you’re a christian.

  • dcrswm

    Just an idiot…..

  • dcrswm

    Unfortunately the BSA, like the RCC, doesn’t have a great history of doing the right thing.

  • Jeffrey032459

    Lets the gay boys and gay men start their own scouts organization !!!! The Boy Scouts of America are a private organization they have every right to keep The Boy Scouts of America a nonsexual organization …. I even have a name for the Gay Boy Scouts of America …Call them the”The Gay Boy Scouts of America” … They want to tout their sexual orientation and that would be the best way…What would some of the merit badges be for them????

  • Jeffrey032459

    Your dead wrong!!!!Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers–none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.( 1Corinthians 6:9-10)and>>You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (NKJ, Leviticus 18:22) When asked Jesus rarely disagreed with the old testament !!!!!!If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. (NKJ, Leviticus 20:13)

  • larryclyons

    Separate but equal worked out quite well before no?

  • solardowork

    You cannot serve GOD and the devil at the same time


    Boy Scout Leaders Sinning deliberately after knowledge of the truth from our Lord given to us in the Bible is a sin you do not want to do.
    You all need to read “MARK 9:42” Very soon the day of the Lord’s wrath REV 6:12 will be on all sinners. Making our Lord Angry is not what you want to do REPENT while you still can.
    December 24-26,2013 all on Earth will see.
    January 14-16, 2014 all will pray for forgiveness.
    “MATTHEW 7:23, LUKE 13:27″

    The wicked will try to tear anything good apart.

    Boy Scouts from around the globe meet the first Saturday of every month at
    Dillingham Airfield Hawaii. Military and Ret. Military Pilots and Pilots from
    around the planet are Honored to teach Scouts to become are next leaders by
    helping them become Pilots.

    Hawaii Aviation Explorer Post 2013

    – AcroFlight International Glider Motorglider School


    The SCHOTT FAMILY has give millions to the BOY SCOUTS FOR ONE REASON ALONE, AS

    “(” When Injustice Becomes Law Rebellion Becomes Duty ” THOMAS

    (“United We Will Always Stand in GOD We Trust”

    George Washington and Johann Paul Schott 12/24/1776. 3:45AM)

    (“In GOD We Trust”)

    The United States of America’s Motto July 30, 1956.

    King David’s Motto 3,000 years ago.

    Soon all the World will Pray to Our Lord GOD and Savior Jesus Christ.

    “United We Will Always Stand in Our Lord GOD and Savior Jesus Christ We

    True Americans

    True Patriots

    GOD Bless

    and May HE Guide you all.

    The Lord’s Little Helper.

    Paul Felix Schott.

    Supporting the BOY SCOUTS FOR MORE THEN 50 YEARS