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Majority of Americans support lifting ban on gay Boy Scouts, adult leaders

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A new Washington Post-ABC News poll has found that "63 percent of Americans support allowing gay scouts to join, and the public opposes the plan to continue to ban gay adults from Boy Scout leadership by a 56 to 39 percent margin."

The Washington Post-ABC News poll surveyed the public's opinion on the upcoming internal vote being held by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to decide whether or not to include gay youth in the organization. The new polling information found that although the BSA has announced that it is not currently considering including gay leaders or parents, the majority of Americans support the inclusion of gay adults in Scouting. The poll did not find a significant difference between the opinions of Americans with children and those without.

Among partisan political groups, both the majority of Democrats and of Republicans support including gay Scouts. The Democrats supported by a larger margin, with a 68 percent approval rating, than the Republicans, who had a 61 percent approval rating.

Seven out of ten Scout groups are chartered by religious institutions. The poll found that among religious groups "A 56 percent majority of Catholics oppose the continued ban on gay scout masters, a number that rises to 75 percent among people who identify as atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular. By contrast, Protestants are closely divided, 49 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing the ban on gay scout leaders." The Washington Post went on to clarify that "the new survey did not ask Protestants whether they identify as “born-again or evangelical Christians,” surveys have consistently shown evangelical Christians are more conservative than mainline protestants issues of homosexuality."

GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay scouts and scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s original Change.org petition has attracted more than 343,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders. Tyrrell, together with GLAAD and Scouts for Equality, has launched a new petition to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to completely lift its anti-gay ban on both youth members and adult employees and volunteers. To take action on this issue please visit www.glaad.org/denmother. For more on GLAAD's work on this campaign, including a timeline of key events, visit www.glaad.org/scouts.

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