Boy Scouts delay decision on admitting gays


The Boy Scouts' National Council, not its executive board, will have the final say on whether to let openly gay leaders and scouts into its ranks.

Last week, the group's 72-member executive board said it would consider changing its longtime ban and allow troops to decide whether to allow gay membership.

That decision was expected Wednesday at its annual meeting.

But after a flood of comments from those inside and outside the organization, the board says it needs more time to study and draw up a new membership resolution.

That resolution will be considered by some 1,400 voting members of its national council at its annual meeting in may.

In a statement issued last week, the organization said the switch would allow parents and members to "choose a local unit which best fits the needs of their families."

"It's about life skills, and it's really about building character. It's not about sexual orientation, and it never has been," said Michael Smith, Kansas City, Mo.

It has been tough for a number of leaders and scouts kicked out after saying publicly they were gay, including Eagle Scout James Dale, who took the issue all the way to the Supreme Court but lost.

"I think fair-minded Americans know that discrimination is wrong, and that the Boy Scouts were out of step with America by excluding gay young people and telling non-gay children that discrimination was an American value," said Dale.

But not everyone agrees with the potential change..

"It's not hate. It's not bigotry. It's a choice about how to raise my children in what I perceive to be my Christian values. If yours are different, great, take your values in places where people agree with you," said Chris Kirby, Boy Scouts troop leader.

A change to the current policy would be a dramatic shift. Just seven months ago the organization reaffirmed its ban on gay members.