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Boy Scouts May Lift Ban on Gay Leaders, Scouts

A spokesman for BSA said the organization may soon announce a policy change.

A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America has told USA Today that the organization may announce a change to its policy on gay scouts and leaders as early as next week.

The spokesperson said BSA would allow gay scouts and troop leaders, which is an about face for the organization.

"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," BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement to USA Today.

In July 2012, the Boy Scouts of America confirmed its ban of gays from the organization. The longtime ban, which was reaffirmed after a two-year review, banned gay boys from being Boy Scouts and gay adults from serving as troop leaders.

According to The New York Times, the decision came after years of debate. In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld 5-4 the right of the Boy Scouts to expel a gay assistant scoutmaster, saying that as a private organization, it had the right to decide what values it wanted to inculcate.

The proposed new policy would leave decisions on membership and leadership up to the Scouts' 290 local governing councils and 116,000 sponsoring religious and civic groups.

Smith told USA Today:

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. 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.

Do you support or oppose the Boy Scouts' decision to change course on its ban of gay scouts and leaders?

 

This first appeared in Hazelwood Patch in Missouri.

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