This came as a surprise, although it shouldn't have surprised me I suppose. here is the media release from the BSA:
As one of America’s largest youth-serving organizations, the Boy Scouts of America continues to work to bring the benefits of our programs to as many children, families and communities as possible.
While we offer a number of programs that serve all youth, Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are specifically designed to meet the needs of boys. For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual’s birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs. However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.
Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application. Our organization’s local councils will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.
The Boy Scouts of America is committed to identifying program options that will help us truly serve the whole family, and this is an area that we will continue to thoughtfully evaluate to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible – all while remaining true to our core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.
Now a good friend of mine at work asked me to comment on this, so I did a post on facebook for him. I have cut and pasted my response.
I will give some background first,(I will break this into several blocks rather than one long screed, especially having to read this on a smart phone, lol) I was a boy scout back in the mid 70's through early 80's I am a scout leader and my son is working on his last couple merit badges and his Eagle project. Boy scouts have changed a lot since I was in as a scout. When I was a scout the Troops were lead by Vietnam Veterans or earlier, corporal punishment was permitted I have seen scouts get their asses beat and this was with the full permission of the parents. I never got thumped, I got enough of that at home. Scouting has changed from that time, scouting has had to adapt in order to survive. Part of having to adjust is the dissolution of the nuclear family, there are a lot of single moms out there that want their sons to have a positive male role influence in their lives so their kids don't turn feral. We have a lot of them become scout leaders because they see a value in the program. there is a term called "Timeless values" as it relates to the Boy Scouts. I honestly believe that if a scout knows the Oath and Law, they will make ethical and moral choices and if they make more right decisions than wrong decisions, they will have an honorable life. (Part 1)
(Part 2) The Boy Scouts were created by https://en.wikipedia.org/.../Robert_Baden-Powell,_1st..., a British war hero and General who was an explorer as well as a British Officer, he has published a book in the late 1800's called "Aid to Scouting", it was written to help people survive in the wilderness. When he came back from one of his wars he had found that his book was being read by the youth in Britain and he started the Boy Scouts in Britain and the phenomenon became worldwide. B-P as he was called honestly believed that the boy scouts was a way for World Peace because if more people are involved, they become "Fellow Scouts" and this movement transcend national borders. To honor this, All scouts in the world wear a uniform, the uniform changes from country to country, but all have a neckerchief, that is the universal thread of scouting. Now I will mention the "Oath and Law," Boy Scout Oath or Promise. "On my honor, I will do my best. To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. Now the Law (Using the voice of judge Dredd) "A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. These were the Oath and Laws created back when the organization was formed. The oath and law haven't changed since that time. Like I stated in the prior missive, of a boy or a man who knows the oath and law, they will make more right decisions than wrong decisions. The beauty of this is that even of a person "strays" off the path" if they follow the oath and law, they will eventually put their feet back on the path and succeed. This is the timeless values that scouting created. (part 2)
(Part 3) Like I stated in earlier post, Scouting has had to adjust from being totally male lead to now having female leaders and they are really good, because they really believe in the value of the program. Now the biggest difference between the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts (rather than the gender) is that the Boy Scouts are faith based, the Girl Scouts are more secular. Some people don't like that so there is another organization that was created in 1995 called the "American Heritage Girls" it is an organization that falls under the BSA umbrella as a joint partnership in 2009 but is separate, When the girls are teens, they can join a Co-ed program called "Venturing". that has both boys and girls, Many scouts once they have gotten their Eagle join the Venturing crews. It is something to keep the boys and girls active in the positive values of the BSA. They do a lot of out door activities like Hiking, canoeing, mountain climbing and many other things under adult supervision and they remain in until they are 21.(Part 3)
I should have added this caveat in the beginning, *Ahem* This is my personal opinion, not the BSA's opinion or anybody else.(Part 4), Several years ago the BSA changed their policies on "Gay Scouts) after fighting and winning the battles in court to exclude them from the organization.the part of the scout law stating "Morally straight" See the BSA is a private organization and they accept no "government money" so the usual charges of "discrimination" under title IX didn't apply. But they finally relented in 2014 I believe to allow "Gay" scouts. As far as "Gay" leaders this was left to the charter organization. Now a bit of background, the average Boy Scout Troop legally owns nothing, it is all owned by the "Charter Organization" that can also set rules on membership, this is by design. Now when the BSA changed the rules on "Gay" scouts, there were already gay scouts and leaders in the organization. This was prevalent in the big cities and the charter organizations were not all churches so the charter organization set the rules. Personally I didn't like the ruling and I will explain why, sexuality has no business in the Boy Scouts. The policy of "Don't ask, Don't tell" was adhered to for many years. This was purely agenda driven, the people pushing this if they had any kids were never going to be in the boy scouts, this was just to break a "glass ceiling" as it were. The new ruling is the same kind of thing, kids don't know who they are yet, it is up to them to find out, and not have external pressure put on them to conform one way or the other. As I recall according to the CDC about 3% of the population is "gay, or identify as such" but they drive the outrage machine and 30 years of political correctness has punished people for believing differently than the"accepted norm". This is such a small segment of the population that is "transgender" something like .05% or something like that. I also recall according to the CDC a lot of people that go through "gender reassignment surgery" after having stuff added or cut off still are miserable it didn't "Fix" them. I am not sure what the answer is as far as the "transgender" issues but this is part of the culture war going on in this society and the BSA is thrown into it. The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. We are viewed as a "Conservative organization" due to our faith based ideals and the timeless values that have stood the test of time. Again this is my opinion, not the BSA's opinion or anybody else.