Keep An Eye On This Today

A TPM reader checks in from the Boy Scouts of America’s national meeting in Texas, where the national council will vote today on whether to lift the ban on gay scouts:

I am a huge TPM fan and I also serve on one of the BSA’s national committees (yes, there are real liberals in the Scouts and we abhor the current policy and, frankly, it is embarrassing at times to be associated with them). I am currently in Grapevine (near Dallas) for the BSA’s National Annual Meeting. As you know, the big vote is set for Thursday. I am one of those that has continued to work from the inside to effectuate change, although I am by no means an activist on the issue. I just continue to make the case why change must come and is inevitable every chance I get.

Going into the meeting I was extremely pessimistic about the likelihood of the current resolution to allow gay youth Scouts passing. I based that opinion on many conversations with Scouters (the term for adult volunteers) across the nation. However today (Wednesday) at the “informational meeting” I found cause for optimism and I now expect the resolution to pass, and pass handily. I do believe this resolution falls short of what is necessary, but I also know that this is progress and I think once this resolution passes, that it is only a matter of time before the entire discrimination policy falls (how do you tell 18 year old Eagle Scouts they are no longer welcome?)

The difference today is the actual electorate that will be voting. Over the past several months many of the delegates went from low-information voters who did not care if they discriminated against gay people to high information voters that understand their long-term fiduciary duty to the movement and the youth involved. I heard multiple people discuss the future of BSA corporate sponsorship. I also think a lot of the credit, if the resolution passes, falls on National Commissioner Tico Perez, one of the two top volunteer positions. Tico has genuine conservative bona fides and lives in Orlando, Florida. I know that he is determined to “save” the program and stop the exclusionary policy. He is the right person to lead the charge for change (and he still has the goal of completely reversing the discriminatory policy.

So, don’t be surprised if the Scouts finally make the first incremental step forward tomorrow. Too many voters now know that it is clearly in the best interest of the program to pass this resolution.