The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on
Thursday agreed to end its ban on openly gay scouts.
On the opening day of its two-day
meeting in Dallas, Texas, roughly 1,400 volunteer leaders from
scouting's 270 councils approved the BSA's proposal. However, the
organization's ban on gay adults will continue.
Outside the conference center where the
national council was meeting, dozens of Christian conservatives waved
flags and demonstrated against the change.
“We're trying to uphold traditional
values,” Bill Lizzio, a 56-year-old scout leader from Tennessee,
told The New York Times.
Opponents such as John Stemberger, who
founded OnMyHonor.net to lobby the Boy Scouts on the issue, argued
that the change would “destroy scouting as we know it” because
religious groups, which sponsor roughly 70 percent of troops, would
leave the program.
“The new proposal requires every
scouting unit to foster open homosexuality amongst its boys,”
Stemberger argued in an appearance on CNN. “And that just
disrespects the religious faiths and traditions of the vast majority
of churches that sponsor these units.”
However, support grew after the Mormon
Church and the Roman Catholic Church pledged not to leave the
program if the proposal was approved.
The new rule takes effect January 1.
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