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Boy Scouts consider repealing ban of gay members

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The Boy Scouts of America are reportedly considering the repeal of a ban excluding homosexuals from membership. The Boy Scouts of America are reportedly considering the repeal of a ban excluding homosexuals from membership.

(RNN) -The Boy Scouts of America are discussing removing the "membership restriction regarding sexual orientation," according to Deron Smith, director of public relations for the organization.

The announcement of the policy change could come as early as next week, according to USAToday, when the national board meets.

They Boy Scouts' 10-year-old policy on homosexuality states scouts and adult scoutmasters cannot be gay. The organization does "not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals."

If there is a change in the rule, Smith told USAToday that it will be up to the local troops if they want to change the policy on admitting homosexual members.

The discussion of the policy reversal comes seven months after the Boy Scouts reaffirmed their position in July 2012.

"Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting," the 2012 statement said. "While not all Board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA."

The review process took two years and the policy on homosexuality "reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA's members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth."

A 2000 Supreme Court decision upheld the Boy Scouts' right to ban homosexuals from membership. Although the group praised the court's decision, they added that they make no effort to discover a person's sexual orientation.

"Scouting's message is compromised when prospective leaders present themselves as role models inconsistent with Boy Scouting's understanding of the Scout Oath and Law," the group said after the Supreme Court's decision.

Randall Stephenson, of AT&T and James Turley, of Ernst & Young, are two corporate members of the BSA board who have said they want the ban repealed. According to NBC News, Stephenson is slated to be the next BSA national chairman.

Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney said during the 2012 presidential campaign that the Boy Scouts should admit gay scouts and leaders.

In October, the Boy Scouts' so-called "perversion files" were released, identifying scout leaders who were suspected inappropriate sexual conduct with children.

The files contain reports of molestation from 1965 to 1985, naming 1,247 scout leaders over 15,000 pages.   

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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