Boy Scouts of America president urges end to ban of gay adult le - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Boy Scouts of America president urges end to ban of gay adult leaders

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates turned head's at this year's national meeting.

Gates told board members the ban on gay adult leaders could crush the organization into non-existence.

The former secretary of defense is urging the organization to drop the ban saying it's not a sustainable policy.

"And what he recognized and what I think that most of us recognize is that the world isn't going to stand still," said David Remley. "None of us are going to live in a vacuum."

David Remley is a Cape Girardeau attorney who has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America since his son joined the organization 21 years ago.

He said the debate about gay adult leaders has been going on for quite some time.

"There's an ongoing discussion and has been for the 20 years that I've been associated with the scouts. Absolutely," said David Remley. "It is a constant source of conversation if nothing else. Lots of time the conversation generates a lot more heat, than light."

That conversation took on a new tone Thursday when organization President Robert Gates suggested reassessing the ban and eventually overturning it.

"The issue isn't going to go away," Remley said. "So I think Mr. Gates suggestion that it needs to be closely reviewed is a pragmatic decision if nothing else."

Even though Boy Scouts of America is a private organization given the right by law to regulate its membership, Gates noted a foreseen lengthy legal process that could spell the end to the program.

Some local chapters have already voiced their discontent with the ban.

And with around 70 percent of units chartered by churches, Remley believes the real question is whether the national organization can tell churches what to do about their membership.

"And the answer, according to Mr. Gates is no. I think that's appropriate. I think a local unit should be left to it's own discretion and it's own wise choices as to what membership they want," said Remley.

The organization voted in 2013 to allow gay members, but not gay scoutmasters.

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