Boy Scouts propose lifting ban on gays, but only for youth
By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
NEW YORK | Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:33pm IST
(Reuters) – The Boy Scouts of America on Friday moved to partially lift its long-standing ban on gays, with a decision that would allow openly gay youth members but continue to bar gay adults in one of the largest youth serving organizations in America.
If the resolution is approved in a nationwide vote in May, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” Deron Smith, the organization’s spokesman, told Reuters.
The report found religious groups linked to the Scouts were concerned with homosexual adult leaders not with youth and concluded “a change in the membership policy specific to youth only would be consistent with the religious beliefs of the BSA’s major chartered organizations.”
Gay rights groups want the ban lifted for youth and adults and the proposal immediately drew criticism.
“By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy,” said Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
The resolution is the result of a study Smith called “the most comprehensive listening exercise in the history of Scouting” that found parents in three of four U.S. regions opposed the current membership policy.
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