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NJ school drops Boy Scouts charter over 'egregious' anti-gay ban

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A conservative Jewish day school in West Orange, New Jersey has announced that it will not renew its Boy Scout charter for 2013 because of the national Scouting organization’s policy banning gay scouts and scout leaders, the New Jersey Jewish News reports.

In an October 17 letter penned by Golda Och Academy's Dr. Joyce Raynor, the head of school writes, “[T]o exclude same-sex families from membership and adult volunteerism is in direct contradiction of School policies, which place high value on inclusion. It has been decided that GOA cannot act as the sponsor organization until [the BSA's] national policy changes.”

The news comes amidst a growing number of local councils around the country that refuse to uphold the ban. GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said: "The dissent within the BSA organization is continuing to grow louder. The BSA will continue to lose its own members, local charter organizations and corporate sponsors until the organization stops promoting discrimination and focuses once again on scouting."

The New Jersey school's decision means that Boy Scout Troop 118 and Boy Scout Pack 118 will find a new space in which to conduct their meetings. The troops' leaders tell New Jersey Jewish News that they too disagree with the Scouts' discriminatory policies, which they described as “terrible” and “egregious.”

“There are lots of good people involved in Scouting who believe [the BSA’s] policy is wrong,” said assistant Scout master Rabbi Lisa Vernon, adding that she believes “it should be a unit by unit decision.”

Golda Och Academy joins a growing number of institutions that openly reject the Boy Scouts' ban on gay members, including several BSA councils. See Scouts for Equality's full map of all the BSA Councils that have rejected the BSA's discriminatory ban here. Many other packs have taken steps to reject this policy, instead opting to accept and welcome all families.

Last week, Ryan Andresen, a young scout who was denied his Eagle badge because of his sexual orientation, delivered more than 400,000 Chnage.org petition signatures to Mt. Dialbo-Silverado Boy Scout Council in Pleasant Hill, CA. Ryan and his mom recently spoke out against the BSA's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders with Anderson Cooper.

GLAAD has been working to end the ban alongside organizations including Scouts for Equality and individuals like Jennifer Tyrrell who was ousted as her son's scout leader earlier this year.

Watch their interview with Anderson Cooper below: Dx6F_irSYmA

More and more Americans are calling on the BSA to join other national organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA, 4-H Club, Adventure Scouts USA and Boys & Girls Club and end its discrimination against gay people.

For more information check out http://glaad.org/scouts

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