Thursday, January 31, 2013

Boy Scouts reconsider ban on gay scouts


The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their ban on gay members and scout leaders last year. But now leaders of the organization are rethinking their position with formal action coming perhaps as early as next week. But some former scouts are questioning how changes will take place.

Last year when the organization reaffirmed their ban, hundreds of scouts left the organizations and numerous companies withdrew their funding. In 2000, the Boy Scouts won a U.S. Supreme Court case affirming the group's right to ban gay members.

Scott Leadingham, a journalist and longtime Eagle Scout, says he's surprised by the organization's reversal, because they reaffirmed their ban only months ago.

"It seems that the pressures on them to change the policy have just become too large to ignore and I can't imagine that they'd want to go forward being on the wrong side of history," he said.

Eric Jones, a former Eagle Scout, says after he came out to his boss at the Boy Scout camp he'd been working at for years, he was asked to leave.

"It wasn't that I was doing a bad job or that I was in trouble for lying or anything like that, it was just my boss was tied up," he said. "He had to let me go because he has to follow the policy."

After he left the camp, Jones says his boss received a letter from the Boy Scouts asking that he be removed.

When you earn your Eagle Scout rank, you make a promise to always be involved in the organization, Jones said. If the Boy Scouts change their policy, it's going to improve the organization, he added.

The ban on gay members and scout leaders has hit the organization hard.

"The Boy Scouts are really struggling with what many organizations are struggling with, a lot of competing organizations and tugs on the lives of individuals who won't allow them to be in scouts for any number of reasons," Leadingham said.

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