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Boy Scouts of America gay rights controversy

The Boy Scouts of America have been gaining attention for their controversial stance on gay rights.  They have proposed a vote to lift the ban and allow openly gay youth members to join.

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More than 1,400 delegates from Boy Scouts of America voted at a national meeting in Texas Thursday to lift its ban on gay youth membership.

The proposal will allow openly gay youths into the boy scouts, but not openly gay adult leaders.

In the past few months, gay rights advocates presented a petition with nearly two-million signatures supporting an end to the ban.  But a recent boy scouts online survey showed overwhelming support for maintaining it.

Nearly 70% of boy scouts troops in the U.S. are sponsored by faith-based organizations.

Madonna is the latest celebrity to take a stand against the Boy Scouts of America.

At Saturday’s GLAAD awards, she called on the organization to change what she called, “stupid rules.”

In the past, Boy Scout officials have said they appreciate everyone’s right to express an opinion.

She also spoke out against homophobia, discrimination and bullying.

Madonna has joined people like Carly Rae Jepson and Train, who refused to perform at the Boy Scout Jamboree.

They both said the reason they pulled out was because of the organizations ban against openly gay or transgender members.

The Boy Scouts of America has decided to delay its vote on a proposal to let local troops decide whether to allow openly gay members and leaders.

The organization, whose leaders had been expected to vote on the proposal Wednesday, said it needs more time to get input from its members. The vote will now be held in May.

Openly gay children and adults are currently banned from the scouts.

Boy Scout executives plan to vote on whether to let local troops decide if they want to allow gay members.

More than 70 percent of Boy Scout troops are affiliated with churches or religious groups.

Supporters of the ban say that allowing gays would violate scout values.

“”They’re entitled to continue that policy if they choose to. If they don’t, they’re going to lose the heart and soul of their membership,” said Southern Baptist Convention President Richard Land.

Opponents of the ban say scout values should not involve discrimination.

“”This is about, you know, them trying to advance an agenda of promoting a specific way of understanding the world, at the expense of people all over the country,” said Eagle Scout Zach Wahls.

There are more than 2.7 million members in the Boy Scouts.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the organization has a constitutional right to oppose homosexuals.

CNN contributed to this report

Leaders of the Boy Scouts of America are expected to take a critical vote this week on whether to admit gay scouts and scoutmasters.

The vote could come Wednesday at the scouts’ annual meeting in Irving, Texas. The proposal would allow local scout chapters to decide for themselves who to admit.

Gay-rights activists says they collected more than a million petition signatures.

But more than two-thirds of scouting troops are run by faith-based organizations, and their support or opposition to gays in scouting will weigh heavily on the decision.

Edward Whelan is the president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, DC. He opposes lifting the ban on gay members, and recently wrote a controversial editorial in the New York Post.

He talked to WGN Morning News about his position Tuesday.

The Boy Scouts of America may be ready to shift its stance on homosexual members.

The announcement comes just six months after the organization stood firmly by its long-standing policy of banning openly gay members.

The dramatic reversal would allow the local religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee scout troops to determine how to handle the issue in their community. Parents would then be able to choose which local troop meets the needs of their families.

The BSA has faced backlash and pressure from its own board members.

Some corporations have also pulled their support from BSA over the current policy.

The Scout’s national board will discuss the proposed policy shift next week in Irving, Texas.

Organization leaders have not announced when a formal decision will be made or when a new policy will take effect.

The Boy Scouts of America is considering changing its longstanding policy against allowing openly gay members, according to a news release from the organization.

The organization, which has 2.7 million members, is “potentially discussing” doing away with its policy after months of nationwide protest, including hundreds of angry Eagle Scouts renouncing their hard-earned awards and mailing back their red-white-and-blue medals.

Many parents of Scouts across America found the national policy excluding gays confusing — and at odds with basic scouting ideals.

Social media were abuzz with outrage over the policy; gay men who used to be Scouts spoke out in first-person blogs. On her TV talk show, Ellen DeGeneres featured a California Scout who had been denied his Eagle rank because he is gay.

boyscoutschicagoMembers of the organization’s national board are expected to bring up the issue at a regularly scheduled biannual meeting in February. Any change would be announced after that.

In the Scouts’ statement Monday, the group indicated that decisions on gay membership would be made at the local level. Each troop’s charter organization would be able to decide “consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”

“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 statement said.

The statement itself is remarkable. Some members will see the fact that Scouting’s national leadership is even discussing the issue as a softening of its stance on gay and lesbians.

But some Scouts and Scout parents say that passing the decision to the local level will have little effect on the ground, because many troops have been ignoring the national policy anyway.

The announcement comes after Scouting’s national headquarters received numerous complaints from a grass-roots campaign targeting the policy.

In April, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation started calls for the Scouts to end the ban. The group applauded Monday’s announcement.

“The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay Scouts and Scout leaders is wrong,” GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said. “Scouting is a valuable institution, and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect.”

The protest was sparked last year after Ohio Cub Scout den leader Jennifer Tyrrell was forced to step down from her position in her son’s Cub Scout pack because she is openly gay.

Some critics who say that Scouts have failed to change with the times blame the connections to organized religion. Approximately 70% of Scout troops are affiliated with some kind of church or religious group, according to Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith.

Scouts for Equality reports that 11 organization councils, which include more than 260,000 Scouts, have publicly protested the policy, according to GLAAD.

The Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are among scouting’s biggest backers, Boy Scouts of America says. In 2011, Mormon-backed Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops accounted for more than 420,000 of all Scouts nationwide. More than 200,000 Scouts were members of units affiliated with the Catholic Church.

President Barack Obama — the honorary head of the Scouts, as is every president — supports gay and lesbians in Girl and Boy Scouts, as does former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a Mormon.

Last year, the Girl Scouts allowed a transgender member into a troop, sparking a cookie boycott.
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