- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Boy Scouts of America announced on Monday it will allow transgender boys to join its ranks, reversing a century-old policy of permitting membership on the basis of biological sex.

“Starting today, we will accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scouts programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement.

Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the scouting organization, said the policy change came in response to varying state laws defining biological sex and gender identity differently, which made determining membership on the basis of one’s birth certificate obsolete.

“After weeks of significant conversations at all levels of our organization, we realized that referring to birth certificates as the reference point is no longer sufficient,” Mr. Surbaugh said in a video message released on Monday.

The policy change comes less than two years after the Boy Scouts lifted its ban on gay troop leaders and three years after it allowed openly gay youths to become members.

The Boy Scouts said it will still remain true to its principles.

“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,” the statement said.

Gay-rights groups praised the scouting organization’s decision.

“This is another historic day for the Boy Scouts of America,” Zach Wahls, co-founder of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement. “This decision to allow transgender boys to participate in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts is an important step forward for this American institution.”

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