After the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced in 2017 that it would start allowing girls to join their ranks, the organization took it a step further in May 2018 and said it was also changing its name to Scouts BSA beginning in 2019 to be more inclusive of both genders.
But months later, the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) have cried foul and filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Nov. 6 claiming the Boy Scouts don't have the rights to use the word "scouts" or "scouting" exclusively.
The complaint read "only GSUSA has the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trademarks with leadership development services for girls," reports CNN. The Girl Scouts claim that any change in branding by the BSA will affect GSUSA's branding in a negative way.
In response, the Boy Scouts said, "we applaud every organization that builds character and leadership in children, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, and believe that there is an opportunity for both organizations to serve girls and boys in our communities."
The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against trademark infringement and monetary damages.
Why the name change?
Last October in an official statement, BSA leaders said they made their decision after fielding requests for years from families who wanted their daughters to be able to join the scouting organization. "The organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who've never been involved in scouting — to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children."
The move will allow girls to join the Cub Scouts program and eventually work toward the coveted Eagle Scout award, a distinction that is more widely known than the Girl Scouts' highest award, the Gold Award.
Some of the loudest opposition to the decision came from those who believe the organization plans to integrate all troops and therefore deny boys the space to just be boys. But in reality, the BSA plans to keep the genders separated even within individual "dens" or "packs."
"Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack," said the BSA statement.
One benefit of the BSA decision that not many people are talking about is that it will allow families with several children of different genders to be part of the same organization. For families who are already running from soccer practice to violin lessons to math club, it makes sense to streamline scout meetings for the whole family.
It's no secret that the Girl Scouts organization has also seen a decline in membership as it struggles to remain relevant to the next generation of girls.
Girls will be allowed to join Cub Scout troops as early as 2018 with programming available for girls to start working toward their Eagle Scout awards in 2019.
Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in October 2017.