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Gays in Troop Would Be OK, Scoutmaster Says

Boy Scouts of America expected to make decision that could overturn policy on sexual orientation restriction this week.

For more than 100 years, the inclusion of openly gay males to the Boy Scouts of America has been banned. This week, however, a single vote may change that.

It is believed the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Board will make a decision this week, as early as Wednesday, either reinforcing its current policy or lifting the ban on homosexuals.

If the policy is overturned, it would remove the ban as a national policy, but leave the decision of whether or not to include openly gay males to each local chapter.

For one Long Valley troop, the change would actually be welcomed.

“[Allowing homosexuals to join Scouts] Is not an issue,” said Troop 36 Scoutmaster Jay DeBoey. “It’s not something we concern ourselves with. [Sexual orientation] is not what Scouts is about.”

DeBoey, now in his second year as the troop’s Scoutmaster, said while he was not speaking on behalf of the troop’s members or their parents, he believed many of the participating families were on the same page when it came to the topic.

He also said scoutmasters, by and large, are usually in line with doing what the national council asks of them. So if the board overturns the policy, Troop 36 would have no problem being in line with the inclusion policy, DeBoey said.

“We try hard to leave politics aside,” DeBoey said about his discussions with members of the troop. “But the thought (within the troop) is wider inclusion is better.”

For Troop 36, the focus has always been and always will be about teaching leadership and life skills, DeBoey said.

In a CBS News segment prior to Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, President Barack Obama said he believed the BSA should overturn the policy and become fully inclusive.

In July 2012, BSA reiterated its stance on not being fully-inclusive by saying “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”

Where do you stand? What do you think the BSA should do at the national level?

Chuck Ruff February 07, 2013 at 11:35 PM
And our founding fathers felt that a belief in God was so important to the principles of our country, that they mentioned God exactly ZERO times in our nation's constitution.
LVMom February 09, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Thank you for being a voice of reason Mr. DeBoey! Maybe you should tell Boy Scouts change the rule or we create our own Organization.
BARBARA ARNOLD February 10, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Bravo Beth. The Boy Scouts train the kids to be good citizens and leaders. Why would We want to leave anyone out. We have so much prejudice today. Please take The steps to stop it. My husband was a Boy Scout who went all the way to the Silver Beaver award. He always Kept in touch with his scouts. He came from a small town in Texas during the depression. The only thing they had was the Boy Scouts and they all turned out to be very Accomplished adults. Please keep the tradition going.
Thomas Lotito February 11, 2013 at 06:00 PM
The original issue about homosexuals in the scouts was about a homosexual assistant Scoutmaster James Dale, who had made his homosexuality public and whom the BSA had expelled from the organization. Freedom of association allows a private organization like the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to exclude a person from membership when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.

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