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Boy Scouts' Gay Ban May End

The national group is considering allowing local chapters to make their own decisions.

The Boy Scouts of America is considering ending its policy prohibiting gays from joining the organization.

The group made the announcement Monday in a statement on its website:

"Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue ... to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

"Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation."

The new policy would allow local organizations to decide for themselves if they want to allow gay members or not. The policy would apply to both youth scouts and adult scout leaders.

The Boy Scouts was founded in 1910 and said it currently serves about 2.7 million youths—including about 13,000 in New Hampshire.

The Boy Scouts' New Hampshire chapter is the Daniel Webster Council. Greg Osborn, a spokesman for the council, said its leadership was just learning about the potential policy change Monday and couldn't immediately comment on it.

"We're hearing about this at the same time as everyone else," said Osborn. "Our focus remains on providing a great program for kids."

Below is the Boy Scouts' full statement:

“For more than 100 years, Scouting’s focus has been on working together to deliver the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.  

“Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.  

“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”

Jason Claffey January 29, 2013 at 01:31 AM
This comment came in from the Exeter Patch Facebook page: "Oh that's big of them to 'consider' the policy change. It's appalling that a 'gay ban' is a policy in the first place." –Stacie Marston
Jason Claffey January 29, 2013 at 03:36 PM
"(I) won't allow my son to join until this happens." Tommy Berga via Facebook
KB January 29, 2013 at 04:09 PM
If this person had joined, they may have learned that the NH Council is quite supportive of the change. While I can not speak officially for them, for what I have seen myself as a Leader for the past 3 years is that no one cares. It's not a question on the application, and as long as someone passes the background check and takes Youth Protection Training, they are fit to lead! There are still those who do not approve of the lifestyle, but they believe in their basic right to choose. It is not an issue that is relevant in Scouting, we teach youth to be confident, self-sufficient, and strong leaders.

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