BOYSCOUT LEADERS DELAY DECISION

IRVING, Texas – Faced with intense pressure from two flanks, the Boy Scouts of America said Wednesday it needed more time for consultations before deciding whether to move away from its policy of excluding gays as scouts or adult leaders. This Saturday on Beyond 50 Transformation, we explore issues regarding LGBT Elders at 1pm on 950 AM, Minneapolis with Freddie Bell. 

Possible changes in the policy — such as a proposal to allow sponsors of local troops to decide for themselves on gay membership — will not be voted on until the organization’s annual meeting in May, the national executive board said at the conclusion of closed-door deliberations.

As the board met over three days at a hotel in Irving, near Dallas, it became clear that the proposed change would be unacceptable to large numbers of Scouting families and advocacy groups on the left and right. Gay-rights supporters said no Scout units should be allowed to exclude gays, while some conservatives, including religious leaders whose churches sponsor troops, warned of mass defections if the ban were eased.

“In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public,” said the BSA’s national spokesman, Deron Smith. “It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.”

Smith said the executive board “concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.” The board will prepare a resolution to be voted on by the 1,400 voting members of the national council at a meeting in Grapevine, Texas, he said.

The BSA announced last week it was considering allowing scout troops to decide whether to allow gay membership. That news placed a spotlight on the executive board meeting that began Monday in Irving, where the BSA headquarters is located, but the deliberations were closed to the news media and the public.

Comments

  1. Honestly, I can’t see what they think will change between now and May. They know it’s divisive, their choice to delay is just an avoidance technique. It reminds me of the ELCA’s “study” of allowing ordination of gay clergy. They debated the issue for years and ended up with a wishy-washy non-statement, trying to keep everyone happy but in fact making most people unhappy at their refusal to take a stand. I certainly understand why this is such a tough decision but nothing is going to change between now and May so the BSA should just bite the bullet and take a stand.

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