Boy Scouts To Reconsider Ban on Gay Members, Leaders Next Week

The Boy Scouts of America could reverse its decades-old ban on allowing gay members and leaders as early as next week, leaving the decision to local troops.

Just seven months after the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its decades-old ban on admitting gay members and leaders, the organization said it could reverse that policy as early as next week.

Scout officials announced this week that the organization is considering amending its policy against homosexual participation in favor of allowing local troops to decide on their own, NBC News reports.

If the policy change is approved at next week's national executive board meeting the ban would be eliminated from the scout's rules.

"The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ national organization told NBC News on Monday.

While the New York times reported that scout officials offered no timeline on making the formal decision, most other media outlets are anticipating a decision after discussion on the issue at next week's national executive board meeting.

Johnston Patch readers weighed in on Facebook after the Boy Scouts' announcement on Tuesday. Here's what some had to say. 

Dean Watts It's 2013. They're already pretty late. Get with it, Boy Scouts!

Denise Parrillo About time.

Activists on both sides of the issue spoke out on Monday on the unintended consequences of leaving the decision on whether or not to allow gays up to individual scouting troops. The New York Times reported that supporters of the ban feared the Boy Scouts' softened approach could undermine the organization's legacy of producing great, moral leaders. Equality activists worried the piecemeal approach would encourage discrimination in some troops.

The battle to end the ban on gay members and leaders in the Boy Scouts began decades ago, but recently regained momentum as a result of public and private backlash when the scouts reaffirmed their policy position in 2012. That same policy endured a Supreme Court trial in 2000.

What's your opinion on allowing gay members and leaders in the Boy Scouts? Do you think Boy Scouts' headquarters should issue a more definitive policy change? Tell us in the comments below.


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