Exclusive: Boy Scouts close to ending ban on gay members, leaders
The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nationís largest private youth organizations, is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.
If adopted by the organizationís board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial -- one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organizationís rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts.
ďThe chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organizationís mission, principles or religious beliefs,Ē according to Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scoutsí national organization.
The discussion of a potential change in policy is nearing its final stages, according to outside scouting supporters. If approved, the change could be announced as early as next week, after the BSA's national board holds a regularly scheduled meeting.