Boy Scouts Approve Plan to Accept Openly Gay Boys

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email
Local Scout Leaders Respond 
“The Sam Houston Area Council does not set the national membership policy and it will support and
implement the new policy...while we have differing opinions about this new policy in our Scouting community, we can all agree that youth benefit from Scouting. We will continue our focus to develop our youth to have strong character and leadership skills and to help them grow to be productive, community minded citizens, and responsible family members.”
Rodney Eads
Board Chairman Sam Houston Area Council

GRAPEVINE, Texas The Boy Scouts of America is throwing open its ranks to gay Scouts but not gay Scout leaders.

Some warn the compromise could fracture the organization and lead to mass defections of members and donors.

Of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA's National Council who cast ballots, 61 percent supported the proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee. The vote followed what the BSA describes as "the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting's history" to gauge opinions.

Calling it "a challenging chapter in our history," BSA chief executive Wayne Brock says, "While people have differing opinions on this policy, kids are better off when they're in Scouting."

Although the policy change takes effect Jan. 1, the bitter debate over the Scouts' membership policy is likely to continue.

Liberal Scout leaders -- while supporting the proposal to accept gay youth -- have made clear they want the ban on gay adults lifted as well.

In contrast, conservatives with the Scouts -- including some churches that sponsor Scout units -- wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted.

The meeting of the BSA's National Council is taking place in Texas, where Gov. Rick Perry expressed his dismay with the decision.

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