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Local organizations sound off on Boy Scouts ban on gay members

Posted at: 02/06/2013 5:37 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion

The Boy Scouts of America postponed a decision on whether to allow gay membership and it's an issue that has divided the nation. And it's no different in Rochester where some want the policy to change, while others want the ban on homosexuals to stay in place. It's been a major battle since the boys scouts declared a ban against homosexual members seven months ago.

The rules have been in place for more than a century. The policy that bans gay members and scout leaders will stay in place for at least a few more months. This may be good news for some and bad news for others.

Scott Fearing, Gay Alliance of Rochester, said, “I'm sure there are some who are very angry and I know many people have been very hurt by the policies.”

Scott Fearing from the Gay Alliance of Rochester says many in our area were ready for the Boys Scouts of America to change their policy against homosexuals.

Fearing said, “The average lesbian gay bisexual trans-gender person isn't thrilled with the current policy because it's saying your less than you're unequal. So I can't imagine that any of them say hey that's a great policy, keep it up.”

It's a policy Fearing says is discriminatory. He says the challenge isn't within local chapters. He says it's a national issue. The Gay Alliance has been discussing this issue with local boy scout troops for well over a decade and now Fearing is hoping the delayed decision means the organization is ready to change.

Fearing said, “There's been a lot challenges and I'm personally hopeful and the agency is hopeful that the national organization is ready to look closely at what does it mean to be a truly an open and welcoming organization.”
But not every one is against the policy. Jason McGuire works with families across the state. News10NBC told him what the Gay Alliance had to say.

News10NBC's Joangel Concepcion said, “They think it's discrimination.

McGuire said, “I think the Supreme Court upheld the decision in Boys Scouts of America versus Dale which the U.S. Supreme Court says  they had the right to who should or should not serve as a scout leader. Under this policy change, we would be sending men who have same sex attraction on overnight camping trips on regional events with young men. That is a problem.”

The Seneca Waterways Council Boy Scouts of America issued a statement in response to the Boy Scouts of America's announcement, "We realize that the myriad of organizations that sponsor scout units all have different viewpoints on sexual orientation. The complexity of the current debate is not as much about sexual orientation as it is about the right of a sponsoring organization to operate their scouting program according to their beliefs or faith. It is clear that no single policy will accommodate all viewpoints within the scouting family on the issue.”  

The Boy Scouts of America say 1400 of the national council will vote and make a decision at the national annual meeting in May.