Sometimes, a moment serves as a marker of both how far we've come as a society and how far we have yet to go. The questionnaireconcerning its anti-gay policy that the Boy Scouts of America sent out to its 1.1m members days ago is one such moment.

The questionnaire is intended to assess members' attitudes toward the Scouts' current policy of excluding gay people, as well as their likely response to any future change in policy. One question reads:

"David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to become a member. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?"

The good news here is that the BSA is raising the issue. The bad news is that they assume that we should take for granted that there are many people like David: people who continue to see same-sex attractions as a moral failure and who are evidently entitled to use their religion as a cover for their bigotry. Substitute "interracial marriage" or "Catholicism" for "homosexuality" in the above question, and you will get a measure of how much room we have to grow as a society.