Boy Scouts reconsidering anti-gay policy (+video)
Boy Scouts of America may soon give local troop leaders the power to choose not to discriminate against LBGT scouts, troop leaders, and den mothers — a major change from their previous blanket no-gay policy.
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Tyrrell said she's thrilled for parents and their children who've been excluded from scouting and "for those who are in Scouts and hiding who they are."Skip to next paragraph
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"For me it's not just about the Boy Scouts of America, it's about equality," she told The Associated Press. "This is a step toward equality in all aspects."
Many of the protest campaigns, including one seeking Tyrrell's reinstatement, had been waged with help from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
"The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong," said Herndon Graddick, GLAAD's president. "Scouting is a valuable institution, and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect."
"The Boy Scouts of America board would be making a serious mistake to bow to the strong-arm tactics of LGBT activists and open the organization to homosexuality," Perkins said. "The Boy Scouts should stand firm in their timeless values and respect the right of parents to discuss these sexual topics with their children."
The Scouts had reaffirmed the no-gays policy as recently as last year, and appeared to have strong backing from conservative religious denominations — notably the Mormons, Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists — which sponsor large numbers of Scout units. Under the proposed change, they could continue excluding gays.
Prior to Monday's announcement, the BSA conferred with some leaders of these religious groups, including the Rev. Frank Page, who leads the Southern Baptist Executive Committee.
According Roger S. Oldham, a spokesman for the executive committee, Page then wrote to the Scouts"expressing his tremendous dismay at the decision."
"They had been working for months on this proposal and just days before they informed us," Oldham said in a telephone interview. "We would anticipate that there would be a very significant backlash to this as churches reevaluate whether scouting comports with."
If the Scouts proceed with the change, Oldham said, SBC leaders were likely to issue a statement "expressing disappointed and encouraging our churches to support alternative boys organizations."
Neither the Catholic Church nor the Mormons' Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued official statements as to how they would respond.
Said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "The bishops hope the Boy Scouts will continue to work under the Judeo-Christians principles upon which they were founded and under which they have served youth well."