Eagle call! (Associated Press/Charlie Neibergall)

Great news for gay boy scouts, kind of!

Some Boy Scout officials have proposed lifting the ban on gay scouts. “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” their proposed standards resolution states, after noting that “resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization,” and admitting that “youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life” and admonishing that “Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.”

You are now welcome in the Boy Scouts if you are a gay youth, but bad news if you plan to stay gay and want to remain involved with the organization as an adult. That ban’s not lifting. No, as soon as you are no longer a developing youth whom the scouting code prevents from acting on any desires you might have, you are banned from being in the scouts. Clearly, the Boy Scouts understand how sexuality works. You turn it on and off at will. You can choose whether or not to be gay, just as you can choose whether or not to be a boy scout.

It would be hard to think of a less courageous position (perhaps cowering under a desk whimpering and whispering, “How did this become a Boy Scout problem?”). The Boy Scouts are fine with gay people as long as they are only gay in theory. It’s almost a Catch-22. You can be gay, in theory. The second you step from theory to practice, you’re either a youth in violation of scouting virtues or an adult who is just straight-up banned from the program. Is there really such concern that an expansion of the ranks, even in theory, would alienate the people who fill the ranks in practice? “Please,” the Boy Scouts are practically pleading, “this is more than we hoped any Boy Scout would have to think about sex in an entire lifetime. Stop yelling at us. How about we admit that this can just be another kind of desire we really hope our scouts won’t act on? But I wish we didn’t have to come to this.”

I guess the step where the boy scouts acknowledge that homosexual desires are exactly as worthy as heterosexual ones of being discouraged in the young is progress. In theory.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day.