Facebook debate rages as Boy Scouts rethink anti-gay stance

As the Boy Scouts of America reconsider their longstanding ban on gay members, Facebook users are conducting the same debate on the Boy Scouts' Facebook page.


Jordan Valinsky

Internet Culture

Published Feb 4, 2013   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 2:07 am CDT

With the announcement that the Boy Scouts of America might repeal their controversial ban on gay members, the organization’s Facebook page has become ground zero for a heated debate on the policy.

A status on the Boy Scouts page seeking feedback on the decision racked up more than 4,000 responses, notes Mashable. In a three-day meeting that started Monday, the Boy Scouts will decide whether to lift their national ban on homosexual members and leave the decision up to local chapters.

The divisive topic is drawing comments from both for and against crowds as the Boy Scouts grapples with its religious teachings against a progressive chorus of calls for it to reform its views.

“The good part about lifting the ban is no one will have to define themselves before they are ready. We have great leaders that are both gay and straight. I respect them both. Can we not respect children that are both gay and straight? Give them a chance to grow up,” reasoned Jay Cardwell.

Right below Cardwell’s comment was a note from Ken Mraz, a staunch opponent of the Boy Scouts’ decision to open the organization to gays.

“For God and country, do what is right,” pleaded Mraz. “Boys need moral and virtuous leaders. Stand firm on moral principles. Don’t let the homosexual movement bully you.”

Of course, some comments pointed to inaccurate and dangerous homophobic stereotypes, including one person who wrote: “Don’t change the policy. The boys are safer without camping out with gay leaders.”

As they begin debate about the ban, the Boy Scouts are facing dwindling membership numbers, notes Reuters. Youth membership has dipped 21 percent since 2000, to just 2.7 million members. A recent online movement shows Eagle Scouts returning their badges in protest of the group’s anti-gay stance.

The Boy Scouts are expected to reach a decision on Wednesday.

Photo via truthrider/Instagram

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*First Published: Feb 4, 2013, 7:14 pm CST