Boy Scouts considering retreat from no-gays policy; unit sponsors could set membership rules

  • Article by: DAVID CRARY , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 29, 2013 - 5:45 AM

NEW YORK - Facing diverse and ceaseless protests, the Boy Scouts of America is signaling its readiness to end the nationwide exclusion of gays as scouts or leaders and give the sponsors of local troops the freedom to decide the matter for themselves.

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potatobugJan. 28, 13 1:23 PM

Its about time BSA gets with it!! The Northern Star Council (the largest Boy Scout group in MN) has long opposed the ban against gay leaders or members, no doubt other Boy Scout groups are in opposition as well. It's unnecessary and harmful to exclude anybody on the basis of their sexual preference.

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joe_mnJan. 28, 13 1:44 PM

Hooray. Since most children are molested by older males, this is a good thing.

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stevescoutJan. 28, 13 2:03 PM

Great, once again the issue is portrayed as descrinination against one group when that is wrong. This is really flabby reporting. No exclusion of any kind has ever occurred in Boy Scouts except we the parents of scouts are weary of subjecting our children to endless exposure to every kind of philosophy that can be put in their face. What folks do outside of scouts is their business, and we are definately under a no need to know what other adults do in their private lives. We want for a place where our kids to be just kids. The BSA policy was and with this "slight of hand word change" still is that no persons outside of the scouts parents tell youth about sexual preference. No one is banned from serving as a youth leader... just that no one can talk issues of sexuallity at meetings. What a position for scouters and scouts to be left in... very much a no win if reporters keep misleading readers that we in boy scouts are discriminating when we are not and never have. The learning process is best done by people who serve as good mentors, act with decorum and let our children grow up as they should, free of contemplating adult issues at younger issues. parents can best mentor on these issues. I know my mom and dad did. Thanks to my Scoutmaster dad and my Coimmittee Chair mom. I am passing on the same way to teach my son and daughter to be the best they can be and grow up with a whole lot more focus on character, citizenship and to develop moral mental and emotional fitness without predjudice of any kind straight, gay or whatever.

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franknjackJan. 28, 13 2:03 PM

joe_mn--So you're suggesting that Boy Scouts not have older males as leaders? That pretty much wipes out their current structure.

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munsterlandrJan. 28, 13 2:04 PM

Well I guess this means heterosexual fathers will be allowed to take girl scouts on week long camping trips. To do anything other than that means gays have MORE rights than heterosexuals...

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ciamanJan. 28, 13 2:05 PM

Is this not like putting the fox in with the chicken coops? I mean, if you alowed boys of age 12 or so in a tent with girls of the same age, then do you think that nothing will happen in a sexual way? Really? Some things are not supposed to happen. This is one thing that should not happen. And no reason not to print this one, folks.

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cwgmplsJan. 28, 13 2:14 PM

This "local choice" option won't work from a legal point of view. The only reason the courts continue to allow BSA to exclude gays is because BSA claims they hold anti-gay beliefs at the national level, so admitting gays conflicts with their free speech. Remove the national policy banning gays, and you will remove the legal basis for excluding gays in the first place. If the national policy is gone, each troop that wants to exclude gays will have to prove, in court, that the presence of gays would impair their free speech. Not an easy task. Removing the national ban and replacing it with the local option to exclude gays will effectively remove the ban everywhere in BSA. There are few local troops that could manage to defend the exclusion of gays in court.

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tigerlily123Jan. 28, 13 2:18 PM

JOE_MN - once and for all, being gay and being a pedophile are 2 different things. Pedophiles can prefer little girls too.

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conniemercerJan. 28, 13 2:19 PM

As a boy scout I would not have cared if my scout leader were gay, but had he worn pink scarves and saddle shoes I might laugh at him.

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indypendantJan. 28, 13 2:20 PM

This is a great thing. The ban on gays has long been a huge stain on scouting, which is otherwise a great organization. If this happens it will once again be an apolitical organzation open to all and participated in by people from all parts of the political spectrum, which is how the organization was concieved.

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