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Boy Scouts Reconsidering Policy on Gay Members
A major tipping point in the controversial Boy Scouts of America policy on gays is just around the bend.
The BSA has prohibited gay scouts and leaders from troops across the country for years, but growing protests have pressured the national organization to consider opening up membership, no matter what a person's sexuality.
Supporters say it would be a huge victory, not just for the Boy Scouts, but in the fight for equality in general. Opponents say homosexuality is a sin, and there is no place for gays in an organization that builds its basic teachings around God and caters to young boys.
The Springfield chapter of the BSA would not take an official stance on the issue, but if it does go through, it would mean local sponsors would decide if they want to continue supporting the organization.
"So the church, the fraternal group, the Rotary club, American Legion, what have you, have to decide their policy on how they will treat this decision," BSA Abraham Lincoln Council Scout Executive Dan O'Brien said.
The current national policy that bans gay scounts and leaders from troops is one the BSA said they stood behind as recently as last year. But this new announcement comes after data showed membership in the Cub Scouts, the BSA's largest division, dropped sharply last year.
The BSA's national executive board is expected to make a final decision next week.
If the decision goes through, we're told we will likely see some shuffling of sponsorship. Some organizations withdrew support years ago, when the BSA's policy on gays garnered new attention. Meanwhile, other organizations have publicly admitted they would throw support behind alternative organizations if the scouts lift their national ban on gays.