The Boy Scouts of America organization now has three months to gather further input before voting on whether to allow gays into its ranks.
The Scouts made headlines recently when the organization planned to vote on lifting its national ban on gay members on Feb. 6. Instead of voting, the board members decided to postpone the decision until May 2013.
A statement released by the organization said:
“For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing its youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.
After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.
To that end, the National Executive Board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the National Council will take action on the resolution at the National Annual Meeting in May 2013,” the statement said.
This voting decision comes after a 2000 Supreme Court ruling that said the Scouts have a right to ban homosexuals from being troop leaders.
According to the Scouts website, The Boy Scouts, which incorporated in 1910 and was chartered by Congress in 1916, provide an “educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.”
Thad Ussery, RCC Forte Steering Committee Co-chair, said that he is in favor of people’s beliefs but that he believes what the Bible says about homosexuals. “That doesn’t mean I’m against their rights, as far as civil rights,” he said.
“If the organization wants to prohibit gay members from joining, then that’s OK and they should be able to do that. Just as others expects us to respect their non-beliefs, we should have the right for them to respect our beliefs. If the Scout organization doesn’t want to open their membership up to it, then they shouldn’t have to and they shouldn’t be ridiculed for it,” Ussery said.
A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed that 55 percent of respondents are in favor of lifting the ban and 33 percent were opposed.
“One troubling finding for Scouting in America is that 54 percent of voters say they were Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, while only 36 percent of voters, including 55 percent of former scouts, say they have children in Scouting,” the poll said.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.