On Thursday the Boy Scouts of America held a historic vote on the one of its most controversial policies. Fourteen thousand members of the Boy Scouts National Council voted by secret ballot to lift the organization’s long-standing ban on gay scouts, with the resolution passing with over 60% of the vote.
Although many celebrated the victory, seeing it as the defeat of an outdated and discriminatory policy that served no purpose, it has still arisen controversy among anti-gay advocates and politicians. They have taken their displeasure to the airwaves and the internet, hoping to make their argument to a public that is only becoming more accepting and inclusive with regard to sexual orientation.
Perhaps the most high-profile reaction came from Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), who made his displeasure known through Twitter. In the aftermath of the Boy Scouts' vote, Perry tweeted,
In the brief press release Perry linked to in his tweet, he stated that he was "greatly disappointed with this decision."
While Perry’s rhetoric was fairly standard, some used more incendiary words to get their point across. Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis at the American Family Association, a conservative fundamentalist Christian lobbying organization, and a radio host said on his radio program Friday, "We might as well rename this organization. BSA no longer stands for the Boy Scouts of America. It now stands for the Boy Sodomizers of America." A video of the outburst can be seen below:
He also tweeted his reaction.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobby group that primarily focuses on social issues, also expressed his dismay. He tweeted out a statement,
Perkins also offered a press release that said, "It is clear that the current BSA leadership will bend with the winds of popular culture, and the whims of liberal special interest groups. There is little doubt that God will soon be ushered out of scouting."
While many on the Christian right took to the airwaves with their position about keeping the ban on gay scouts, public opinion has strongly been turning against the policy. A Quinnipiac poll found that 55% of respondents thought the ban should be done away with. Only 33% thought it should remain.
However, as the Boy Scouts of America gear up to introduce the removal of the ban by the end of this year, expect the rhetoric to continue. Assemblies of God predicts a "mass exodus" from the Boy Scouts due to the result of the vote. Time will tell if the Christian right's vision comes to pass or if America simply shrugs its shoulders and carries on.