Poll: Majority support opening Boy Scouts to gays
February 6th, 2013
12:19 PM ET
1 year ago

Poll: Majority support opening Boy Scouts to gays

(CNN) – A poll released Wednesday showed a majority of American voters think the Boy Scouts of America should lift their ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters, the same day the group delayed a vote on the ban until May.

The Quinnipiac University survey indicated 55% of respondents said the ban should end, and 33% said it should remain in place. There was a gap among man and women in the poll – 61% of women supported allowing gay members, while 49% of men supported such a move.

Differences also emerged among religious affiliation. White Catholics supported ending the ban 63%-25%, while white evangelical Protestants said the ban should stand, 56%-33%.

"Now that the Armed Forces ban on openly gay service members has been lifted, and polls show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, most American voters think it's time to open up the Boy Scouts too," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said of the poll.

Quinnipiac's survey also showed a dip in the percentage of Americans who participate in scouting programs. While 54% of the voters surveyed said they were in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, only 36% said their children participated.

The Boy Scouts executive board was slated to vote on lifting the ban Wednesday, but delayed the decision, saying it needed more time to get input from its members. The full national council, which numbers more than 1,400, will vote on lifting the ban in May.

The issue has sparked an array of organizations to voice their opinions, with some conservative groups worried that allowing gays would erode the Boy Scouts' moral message, and gay rights groups saying the ban amounts to discrimination.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from 1,772 registered voters nationwide by telephone from January 30 to February 4. The sampling error was plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gay rights
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Anyone whose kid is in the Boy Scouts who isn't a bigot should boycott them until they wake the frig up and join the 21st century. If they want to be an insular private organization that teaches hate, then so be it...SHOW them how small they'll become and how much revenue they'll lose as a result.

    February 6, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Davis

    Most people voting probably have no stake in it.BSA will most likely pass the buck and leave it to each chapter.

    February 6, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Expat American

    It's the right thing to do.

    February 6, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Dave

    Why does it matter what the majority of Americans want? All that matters is what the majority of the Scouting orginization wants. If you are not involved, I am sorry but your opinion is just that, an outside opinion. If I have absolutely nothing to do with football, and dont even watch it, what difference should my opinion make on NFL policy? Its the same concept.

    February 6, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. LibParrots

    Stop forcing your left, social agenda on society. Any lesbian, gay, unknown alternative sexual lifestyle group can start their own organization, it's a free country...well, sort of, not for much longer.

    February 6, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. LibParrots

    Oh snap! The badge says god and country and god and family.....guess they'll have to change that as well to appease the atheists from the left.

    February 6, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Donna

    Everything in this country should not be decided by polls. The Boy Scouts is a private organization and the government and Obama have no right telling them who can and cannot be in their organization. Maybe Obama should be spending his time on more important issues, like our pathetic economy and the millions of unemployed?

    February 6, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. thomas1

    @Dave. While I don't think you meant to say " We don't want or care about the rest of america". You are in effect saying just that. When a organization includes high-minded people such as this one does, it lends towards prejudice anyways. The BoyScouts will go the way of other seperatist organizations and soon will besmurched as the Catholic church is today. I joined BoyScouts as a kid to keep busy, had fun. Served in the Marines for 26 yrs. Never had much patience for those that wanted to exclude others.

    February 6, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. emskadittle

    i love that nickname "libparrots" the irony is really rich, you do know bigotry and discrimination lost you the election and will continue to do so

    February 6, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    LibParrots

    Stop forcing your left, social agenda on society. Any lesbian, gay, unknown alternative sexual lifestyle group can start their own organization, it's a free country...well, sort of, not for much longer.
    -------------

    when you stop forcing your right, everything-religion, 1950's mentality social agenda on society.....see how easy that was? You stepped right into it junior.

    February 6, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Erik

    Opponents of gay rights are constantly trying to move the goal posts. Had this poll found majority opposition to ending the ban, they'd be shouting it from the roof tops. Since gay rights now has majority support, they dismiss the poll saying "everything in this country should not be decided by polls." They have now taken every imaginable position on whether to vote, whether not to vote, and who in government should have the final say. They have nowhere to go. They are corned, defeated, and need to give up.

    February 6, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Facts don't Lie

    is there a box to check when you join the scouts that ask if you are gay or straight? There have probably been gay boy and girl scouts for as long as we have had gays in the military. SOmethings just need to be unsaid I think and carry on.

    February 6, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Moose

    Another bamman nightmare. Who really cares except the people looking for a spotlight ??? Why does everyone have to pro gay??? Why arent men allowed in womens colleges ??? I think you see the point, who cares !!!!

    February 6, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. zaczek@aol.com

    I have yet to hear a person say it's okay to put gay men in tents with young boys,I wish I knew where they come up with these so-called polls but it certainly isnt with the public.

    February 6, 2013 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. nothing new here

    The same people that support this ban, are some of the same people that refuse to allow folks to homebrew. These religious extremists want to control every aspect of our lives, but yet they have the sheer audacity to complain about progressives and liberals.
    End this ban!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 6, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. critical thinking

    Some of the comments like the one below are totally missing the mark. The Boy Scouts does not teach hate. The Boy Scouts teach independence. You know how to think and take care of yourself?

    ---------------------------
    Sniffit

    If they want to be an insular private organization that teaches hate, then so be it

    February 6, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. RomneyWho

    Just a few questions?
    Why is there a girl scout and a boys scout?
    Are they separated for a reason?
    Are they separated by gender because of sexual tension?
    If so, should the gay boys be girl scouts and the gay girl, should they join the boys scouts?
    Just saying . . . :(

    February 6, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. jrperser

    "Morally straight", words from the Boy Scout motto, implies holding to a biblical standard of morality, which does not include gays and lesbians. You are free to create your own scout organization based on your own norms.

    February 6, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. RomneyWho

    Why don't they just have a gay boys scout and a gay girls scout? :)

    February 6, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. nothing new here

    Declining memberships, losing money, major lawsuits, covering up for pedophile criminals, badmouthing anyone that does not agree 200% – yes, such a moral upstanding organization – NOT.

    February 6, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Will

    Personally, I would rather take my kids camping and such on my own. I feel like I can impart my own family values better. My kids are influenced enough by their teachers at school as it is. Besides, that's the whole reason I had children. Was to spend time with them and love them. Last thing I'm going to do is send them off on a camping trip with a stranger that I hardly know.

    February 6, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. RomneyWho

    I know, I know . . . Have a gay boys scout and a gay girls scout. Separate the givers from the takers. All the boy and girl givers be under one scout group and all the boy and girl takers be under the other . . . problem solved! ;P

    February 6, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Rudy NYC

    I wonder if taking an official position accepting gays [note they push the decision on local chapter or troop] would have anything to with the proliferation of law suits involving gay molestation.

    February 6, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. rs

    zaczek@aol.com

    I have yet to hear a person say it's okay to put gay men in tents with young boys,I wish I knew where they come up with these so-called polls but it certainly isnt with the public.
    ---------------
    That's pedophelia you're thinking of, not homosexuality.

    February 6, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Eric

    Why should the Boy Scouts care about how people outside of scouting vote? Quinnipiac University should have only polled active and past scouts and scouters, or at least reported statistics from that target group. Reporting how non-scouters feel about the issue is irrelevant to the true issue at hand; should the BOY SCOUTS change their OWN policy towards gays. This article is an example of biased reporting.

    February 6, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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