Americans are turning a corner on gay rights, and slowly but surely, they seem to be dragging the Boy Scouts along behind them. Leaders of the organization recently proposed dropping its ban on openly gay Scouts, while continuing to prohibit gay adults from serving as scoutmasters. Although we're glad to see the Boy Scouts of America become more tolerant, however limited and belated that change is, it must waste no time before taking the next step as well. There is no valid reason to exclude gay troop leaders of either gender, and the Scouts' lack of acceptance smacks of old and ignorant prejudices against homosexuality.
It's true that the organization has been beset by past cases of molestation, but the belief that openly gay and lesbian adults are more likely than heterosexuals to be predators is based on thoroughly discredited myths.
At its heart, Scouting's prejudice against gays and lesbians is more a reflection of deeply held beliefs that homosexuality is immoral and therefore that homosexuals are to be avoided, an attitude that was widespread in this country until a decade or two ago and that still prevails in places. That includes the odious fiction that homosexuals are bad role models or that they will try to change the sexual orientation of those in their care.