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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Boy Scouts Still Can't Decide If It Wants Gays ... in Its Organization

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 8:41 AM

click to enlarge The Boy Scouts don't know what they're missing
  • The Boy Scouts don't know what they're missing

After a long meeting in Texas, the Boy Scouts of America postponed making a decision about whether to lift its ban on gays, claiming the issue was just too complex (aka uncomfortable).

The board was supposed to vote yesterday, but as Deron Smith, director of public relations for the Boy Scouts, put it: "The organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy."

Baby steps.

Now, gays who also would like to be scouts will have to wait until May when the organization plans to take up the issue again at its annual meeting.

The Boy Scouts announced last month that the organization would consider changing the policy, a sharp reversal of its previous position of outright excluding openly gay scouts and scout leaders. The announcement came after a Bay Area teen, Ryan Andresen, had put the issue back in the spotlight in October 2012 when he was denied his Eagle Scout honor after his troop leaders learned he was gay.

Andresen and his mother started a petition that garnered more than 450,000 signatures from people who believed the East Bay high school student had every right to receive the Eagle Award -- the scouts' highest honor. The teen delivered the signatures to his local Boy Scout Council, which decided to approve his Eagle Scout application. That excitement lasted about a day before the Boy Scouts of America stepped in and refused, once again, to grant him the honor.

If the BSA changes its policy, and finally lets gays participate, it would then be up to local leaders to decide "consistent with each organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs" whether gays are welcome in their local troop.

We'll let you know in May whether the Boy Scouts decide to man up or not.


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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Bio:
Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.

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