Scout Plan to Allow Gay People Ignites Debates on Local Level
A proposed shift by the Boy Scouts of America away from its national policy banning gays, leaving the decision to local councils, has divided scouts, families and troop leaders, with thousands taking to the organization’s Facebook page and other online forums to express their views in passionate tones of anguish, opprobrium or approval. For Margaret Kreider, the mother of an Eagle Scout in Broussard, La., the cacophony promises only the beginning of a long argument. She said she does not support allowing openly gay scout leaders, and fears that local scout councils — like the one her son, Jacob, thrived in starting at age 7 — will be forced to take sides in a divisive debate and then not be able to fight back, with lawyers and clout, if challenged. Boy Scouts officials said on Monday that under the proposal, to be considered by the executive board next week, local scouting groups could decide for themselves whether to allow gay scouts and leaders, based on the social, religious and philosophical tenets of a troop’s families.