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Boy Scouts Vote To Admit Openly Gay Members

Members of Scouts for Equality hold a rally to call for equality and inclusion for gays in the Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday.

Members of Scouts for Equality hold a rally to call for equality and inclusion for gays in the Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday.

Members of Scouts for Equality hold a rally to support inclusion for gays in the Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday.

The Boy Scouts of America has agreed for the first time to allow openly gay boys as members, but a vote of the organization's National Council left in place a ban on gay Scout leaders.

The Associated Press reports that of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal. The policy change approved by the 1,400-member National Council would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, the organization said.

Here's a statement issued by the BSA after the vote:

"For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, with a focus on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.

"Based on growing input from within the Scouting family, the BSA leadership chose to conduct an additional review of the organization's long-standing membership policy and its impact on Scouting's mission. This review created an outpouring of feedback from the Scouting family and the American public, from both those who agree with the current policy and those who support a change. ...

"The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place."

As Reuters reports, the National Council's decision came amid intense lobbying by gay-rights activists and members of conservative organizations.

The group GLAAD praised the Scouts' decision:

"Today's vote is a significant victory for gay youth across the nation and a clear indication that the Boy Scouts' ban on gay adult leaders will also inevitably end," said GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro. "The Boy Scouts of America heard from religious leaders, corporate sponsors and so many Scouting families who want an end to discrimination against gay people, and GLAAD will continue this work with those committed to equality in Scouting until gay parents and adults are able to participate."

As NPR's Kathy Lohr reported on Wednesday:

"The most recent debate over the [no gays] policy began in January. One idea was to allow local troops to decide whether to allow gay members. Some conservative organizations objected. So the Boy Scouts conducted a survey and came up with the latest proposal, which would allow openly gay youth to participate. For the past couple of months, groups have been lobbying, protesting and threatening to leave the group if the proposal passes."

Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. Conservative Groups Disappointed

"We are deeply saddened," Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee, was quoted by the AP as saying after learning of the result. "Homosexual behavior is incompatible with the principles enshrined in the Scout oath and Scout law."

The Assemblies of God, another conservative denomination, said the policy change "will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | May 23, 2013 at 4:06 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Sad day for America. Farewell Boy Scouts of America.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 23, 2013 at 4:22 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Isn't one role of boyscouts to guide male children through adolescence so they learn how they should act as a man?

Why don't we treat other sexually deviant behavior the same way? Why don't we all accept bestiality, pedophilia, homosexuality, etc. and try to conform to all people who were born with these abnormal desires?

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Avatar for user 'carolinemccoy'

carolinemccoy | May 23, 2013 at 7:56 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

ummmmmm....is it me? Why is there ever a need to know what one's sexual preference is? At all.....EVER? Exactly what are the boy scouts discussing around the camp fire? I'm going to go out on a limb here....but I bet it's NOT sex. Why would one want to join the scouts? To be like them? Because they like what it means to be a scout? long standing traditions? THEN!!! Change everything that the boyscouts are about? Like why can't a GIRL join the BOY scouts.......same thing.....right? JUST SAYIN'

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | May 23, 2013 at 8:57 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Another piece of good news! Now the leaders have to come out of the closet so that there is no discrimination anywhere in that organization. Well done Boy Scouts of America. Well done.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 23, 2013 at 10:10 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Oh RegularChristian you are such a great human.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | May 24, 2013 at 7:26 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

I don't think it will be the end AG, but there will be an acceleration of falling numbers. Hopefully I am wrong and more people will realize the many important things scouting can teach.

CM, you have obviously never been around a campfire with a bunch of teenage boys who are talking freely. There are many things discussed, but sex is going to be one of them.

When BSA sent me the poll for this issue it came down to issues of maturity and civility when I recommended that they allow this. The point of scouting is not to isolate them from the world. That world contains homosexuals who they will work with, form friendships with and treat with respect and dignity. Arbitrarily excluding them didn't make sense to me. You don't have to like what your neighbor is doing, but understanding the individual while declining to participate in the behavior is superior to bigotry in my opinion.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 24, 2013 at 8:09 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Grouping homosexuality with bestiality and pedophilia shouldn't go unchallenged. They're not the same thing. I suppose it's some kind of communist plot. I just had a nightmare about a bi-national orchestra of gay Boy Scouts playing Shostakovich and Stravinsky.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 24, 2013 at 8:20 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

DeLaRick those composers sound Russian. Have you been listening to communist music?

(that was a joke)

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | May 24, 2013 at 9:07 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

JM,

Good one, comrade.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 24, 2013 at 10:54 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

What really confuses the issue, what really cheapens the debate, is the intentional, NPR included, media portrayal of this as a Left vs. Right, Conservative vs Liberal political issue which it is NOT.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 24, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

JeanMarc: "Why don't we treat other sexually deviant behavior the same way? Why don't we all accept bestiality, pedophilia, homosexuality, etc. and try to conform to all people who were born with these abnormal desires?"

It's pretty amazing that there are still people who lump being gay with pedophilia, bestiality, etc., but not surprising coming from a poster who sounds like 50's era J. McCarthy accusing everyone who doesn't agree with him as being a "Communist".

Society decides issues of morality and sexuality, and society has decided bestiality and pedophellia are morally wrong (not to mention ILLEGAL) due to consent issues.

Do you not understand the concept of CONSENT?

Gays in the boy scouts debate aside, I can guarantee you the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that there is a clear distinction between two adults of the same sex who mutually agree to be with each other and someone who has sex with a child or animal.

Your lumping these all together simply proves how fringe and far removed from the mainstream you actually are.

Not only do your very fringe, draconian opinions contradict American society, they also contradict American Law as well as the American Psychiatric Association.

Have you ever had sex outside of marriage? Have you ever engaged in oral sex? Have you ever had sex within marriage but not for the purpose of procreation? If so, there are fringe loonies out there who would liken YOU to pedophiles and animal abusers in the same ignorant fashion with which you are doing to gay people. I'm sure you would cast aside such accusations as fringe nonsense, and you would be right - fringe nonsense just like your comments.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 24, 2013 at 11:35 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

More specifically to this article, it's only 1/2 good.

They voted to still not allow gay adults to have anything to do with the Boy Scouts.

In other words, a gay youth can be part of the Scouts until he turns 18, then he can't have anything to do with them.

There is still work to do as the boy scouts still discriminates.

These ridiculous thoughts that gay men would somehow have sex with the boys is simply outdated fear-monger-based nonsense along the lines of what some of the posters on here are spewing.

First off, a scout leader would need to be a FATHER of a scout. So it's not as if random people would be allowed to sign up, i.e. gay or STRAIGHT pedophiles.

Second, look at the girl scouts. FATHERS of girls scouts are allowed to serve as scout leaders, yes that's adult men being around young girls, and it hasn't turned into a pedophile scenario like the kooks claim. Same thing if gay FATHERS of the scouts were allowed to be scout leaders, nothing would happen and all the nutjob bigots would be disproved,

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | May 24, 2013 at 12:53 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Curious that the Boy Scouts left the ban on gay scout masters intact.

What message does that send? That gay boy scouts will be "cured" by their straight scout masters?

What about the decades of sex abuse cover-ups in the Boy Scouts. Remember the leak last year of the 14,500 pages of secret "perversion files" that scout leaders kept hidden along with their known pedophile scout masters?

Those pedophiles were not prosecuted to "save the name of Scouting".

Will this latest action "save Scouting"? I think they just made the gaping hole in their ship even bigger.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 24, 2013 at 1:53 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Peking_Duck_SD I cannot believe it. Did you just say society decides issues of morality?

Well in afghanistan, their society has decided that it is morally correct to torture and kill people who aren't muslim. They decided it is morally correct to perform female "circumcision" on baby girls. They decided it is morally correct to perform honor killings on women who do something against shariah law.

Their society has decided those issues of morality. Does that mean they are morally correct?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 24, 2013 at 11:38 p.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

Interesting that you, Jean, are harping about Afghan society. Your views on homosexuality seem pretty in-line with Sharia.

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Avatar for user 'Trick'

Trick | May 26, 2013 at 3:09 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

JeanMarc, you've sort of proven your own point... or, more accurately, Peking_Duck's. Yes. In Afghanistan, society has decided that being non-Muslin should not be tolerated. It's part of the fabric of that country. Obviously, seen from outside, it can look pretty brutal -- and it is, but it happens because at least a segment of Afghani society condones it.

Are those actions morally correct to those people? Sure. As unbelievable as that may sound, they find actions like you describe to be utterly moral.

We obviously see things differently here, and I'm sure you'd agree that's a good thing. Here in the States, we place a much higher value on tolerance for cultural differences, and tend not to be as prone to standing idly by while people are persecuted for not living by some group's ideal of "normal." That's a big reason why we're not Afghanistan.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | May 28, 2013 at 9:28 a.m. ― 1 year, 3 months ago

You are correct, my point was that in Afghanistan they see those obviously immoral things as moral. But that does not mean they ARE morally correct, we know they are wrong. Unless you are saying morality is relative. If that is the case, I think it is moral to kill you for being a pot head. Am I morally correct? Can I make up my own set of morals?

Nope, that is not how it works. Sure, the afghans may think it is absolutely moral to bomb and kill people they don't like but that doesn't mean it actually is.

Also, Vape Squad? Are you that proud of your pot smoking? Put down the vaporizer bro, pot smoking retards the brain.

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