Boy Scouts of America considering allowing gays in troops

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - For more than one hundred years the Boy Scouts of America has banned anyone who was openly gay from being involved in Scouting.

Now lifting that policy is under consideration by the BSA.

The BSA's Director of Public Relations released this statement on Monday.

"For more than 100 years Scouting's focus has been on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.  Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

"Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.  This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs.  BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families.

"The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue.  The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents.  Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs."

The change is one that has many people talking throughout Southern Illinois.

"I feel like they suffer so much that gays should be allowed in the Boy Scouts," said Nora Gonzalez of Jonesboro.

"I think it would be a good thing. I don't think it's necessarily right for people to push their opinions onto others. I think they should be able to do whatever they choose," said Jamie Tonn of Carbondale.

"I really don't approve of it. I mean it should be Adam and Eve, like it says in the Bible, the man for the woman. Not two men. And I think it's wrong teaching the youth that," said John Casey of Jonesboro.

"I think it's about time. And I think the alienated a lot of young boys from being in the program. Because as we all know a lot of gay people know it very young. And so I think it's time they got with the program," said Christine Saliba of Herrin.