Boy Scouts Consider Ending Ban on Gay Members, Leaders

What do you think of this development? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is considering an end to its long-standing ban on openly gay members and scout masters, NBC News reported Monday.

The discussion comes weeks after the organization rejected an Eagle rank application from an openly gay California teen—the latest incident in several years of controversy over the policy.

According to NBC, individual sponsoring organizations—such as churches and schools—would be able to decide whether the ban would still apply to their groups.

“The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith told NBC.

Scout troop leaders and volunteers on Mercer Island said the current policy of preventing gay individuals from participating in scouting at any level was not widely supported and looked forward to changes and more local control.

One local scout leader, who declined to be named by Mercer Island Patch because he couldn't speak for the entire troop, said he strongly objected to the current ban and said he would resign his position if the rule was enforced to prevent participation by a scout under his responsibility.

"I think the policy is wrong," the scout leader said. "I find it indefensible and I hope the policy changes. I know of no one who actually supports policy."

The BSA partners with five Mercer Island community organizations and counts about 250-270 boys as scouts. The two cub scout troops and four boy scout troops (charter organizations in parentheses) are: Cub Scout troops 624 (Mercer Island Presbyterian) and 668 (Rotary Club of Mercer Island) and Boy Scout troops 66 (St. Monica Catholic), 457 (Emmanuel Episcopal), 624 (Mercer Island Presbyterian) and 647 (Holy Trinty Lutheran).

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with 2.7 million youth members and over 1 million adult volunteers

Do you think the Boy Scouts should end its ban on openly gay members and leaders? Tell us in the comments section.

JPL January 29, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Rouchard Duprie January 29, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Would you let a 25 year heterosexual male sleep in a tent with your scout daughter? Why on earth do you think many of us might object to our young sons doing the same with a gay scout leader? If someone decides the gay lifestyle is for them, I support them. But as a mature adult, not as an innocent kid at the hands of a gay scout leader on a weekend camping trip. The article is misleading since the BSA has never banned gays. They have embraced a DADT policy which has been very effective. The scout leader interviewed for the story should resign. He was aware of the scout's position regarding this matter and chose to ignore it. Ignoring guidelines and rules sets a bad example for our young people. Honesty and Integrity are scouting values. This is another institutional attack directed at those with traditional Christian values. As a tolerant person who has always celebrated diversity and embraced differences, it's sad certain groups insist all of us adopt and conform to their beliefs. If this hypothetical ban is lifted, the spirit and goodness of the BSA, with it's core beliefs and foundation based on Judeo-Christian values, will never be the same.
Sarah Weinberg January 30, 2013 at 02:43 AM
Mr. Duprie is conflating homosexuality with sexual predation. The two are NOT the same. Any organization that works with youth and adolescents needs to have safeguards in place to keep sexual predators out. This applies to programs for girls, boys, or mixed groups. (Read up on the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State to get a better understanding.) Also, note that "traditional Christian values" or "Judeo-Christian values" haven't prevented sexual predation by priests, pastors, ministers, rabbis, and other religious personnel. The people hurt by excluding gay scouts and scoutmasters are the discriminated-against young people primarily. Growing up gay is hard enough without this kind of rejection.
Rouchard Duprie January 30, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Miss Weinberg, with all due respect, what makes you so pious enabling you to be so judgemental? You need not be a theological scholar to understand what the bible says about homosexuality. It's not my place to pass judgement regarding someone's sexual preferance. If you believe in God like I do, he'll be the one who ultimately judges.
Kendall Watson January 30, 2013 at 06:59 AM
I stand by the description of the current BSA policy as described in the article: "long-standing ban on openly gay members and scout masters", and its construction further down in the story, restated "current policy of preventing gay individuals from participating in scouting at any level." Further, I believe you may have left of the word "if" from your statement about the scoutmaster as he was speaking in a hypothetical.


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