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Boy Scouts consider lifting ban on gay members, leaders

6:48 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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The group, one of the nation's largest youth organizations, has long banned openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

However, the organization's board of directors is now considering eliminating the ban from the national organization's rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay Scouts.

If the national policy change is approved, it could be announced as early as next week.

In June, the Boy Scouts affirmed a policy of banning gay members, after a nearly two-year examination of the policy.
Scout leaders decided to re-examine the ban at the urging of local Scout chapters.

John Cabeza, Scout executive and CEO of the Boy Scouts of America in the Denver area released the following statement:
"This is an internal national policy discussion, and no decision has been made. I can say that local councils agree to support the decisions made by the volunteer national executive board. Our united focus is on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training."

Steven Foster, Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Emanuel in Denver returned his own Eagle Scout medal, along with other awards in 2000 in protest of the policy banning gays.

Monday, he said the policy is a good first step, but it still allows for discrimination because local troops can still decide who to admit and who not to.

"Even this new statement, that it is part of the value system," Foster said. "I appreciate that. I just want them to go further and say 'We as the Boy Scouts of America believe we should not allow or tolerate discrimination. Period.'"

The Boy Scouts of America issued the following statement today:
"For more than 100 years Scouting's focus has been on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

"Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families.

"The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs."

(Copyright © 2013 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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