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.