By DAVID CRARY and NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press
GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP/WGGB) — The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council has voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts.
Of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal.
Under the proposal drafted by the Scouts’ governing board, gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders.
The outcome is unlikely to end a bitter debate over the Scouts’ membership policy.
Some conservative churches that sponsor Scout units wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted. More 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 a statement to ABC40 tonight, local Council Scout Executive & CEO David Kruse says, ”The Western Mass. Council’s focus remains to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. The information our Council provided on this issue helped provide perspective to the process, and we respect the integrity of the national decision-making process. As the Scout Executive of the Western Mass Council, I believe this update to our policy will allow all kids who sincerely want to be a part of Scouting to experience this life-changing program while remaining true to the long-standing virtues of Scouting. While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. We believe good people can disagree and still work together to accomplish great things for youth. Going forward, we will work to stay focused on that which unites us.”
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