Boy Scouts of America Lifts Ban on Gay Leaders


On July 27, 2015, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) officially lifted its long standing ban on adult leaders who are openly gay. The Scouts’ 80-member National Executive Board approved the resolution that drops its blanket restriction on openly gay adult leaders and employees. This comes on the heels of a pivotal speech in May 2015 in which Robert Gates, president of the Boy Scouts of America, urged the lifting of the ban, saying that it was “unsustainable.”

In 2013, the Boy Scouts’ National Council removed its restriction on membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation but they kept the ban of its gay adult leaders. This policy change was criticized by people and groups on both sides of the issue; LGBTQ organizations felt it didn’t go far enough and religious groups were against allowing openly gay youth to be members. Prior to this and for more than thirty years, the Boy Scouts of America’s official position was to deny membership to individuals (members and leaders) who were openly gay.

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the evolution of the Boy Scouts’ position on gay members and leaders, analyze Robert Gates’ recent speech on the issue and explore students’ own points of view by writing persuasive essays.


This lesson plan has been put together by the Anti-Defamation League, and a pdf version is available here.


Learning Standards


  • R.1: Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • R.2: Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.



  • W.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.


Speaking and Listening

  • S.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.



Link to the original page is available here.



The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Now the nation’s premier civil rights/human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.

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