Boy Scouts Consider Ending Policy Banning Gay Members and Troop Leaders

Posted: January 30, 2013 in Boy Scouts, Gay, Hate Mongers, Religious Hatred
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Boy Scouts Consider Ending Policy Banning Gay Members  and Troop Leaders
By Madison  Gray
Image: Scouts Salute
KENZO  TRIBOUILLARD / AFP / GettyImagesBoy Scouts salute while listening to the national  anthem

The organization said Monday it was considering dropping its national policy  on sexual orientation and leaving some of the decisionmaking to local troops,  sponsors and families.

(MORE: Was  a Boy Scout Denied an Award Because He’s Gay?)

“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,” said BSA spokesman Deron Smith in a  statement to TIME. “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.”

The group’s long-standing ban on gay membership, while it has faced several  legal challenges, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2000 case. But  the Scouts have come under mounting pressure on the issue in recent months. In  October, Ryan Andresen, a then 17-year-old scout who had completed all the  qualifications for earning his Eagle badge, learned from his troop leader that  he could  not be awarded the merit because he was gay. At the time, the Scouts  released a statement saying that Andresen “did not meet the organization’s  standard on sexual orientation” and was told he was no longer eligible for  membership, prompting widespread condemnation. Earlier this month, after  Andresen’s mother posted  a Change.org petition in his support that got more than 468,000  signatures, local Boy Scout leaders approved his Eagle ranking, despite the  judgment of the national organization.

Smith said the decision is likely to be discussed next week at the  organization’s national executive board meeting, which will be closed to the  public. If the ban is dropped, it would eliminate any national policy on sexual  orientation within the Boy Scouts of America.

MORE: Eagle  Scouts Return Badges in Protest of Gay Ban

MORE: Will  Boy Scouts Reverse Anti-Gay Policy?

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