Scouts considering retreat from no-gays policy


by Associated Press

Posted on January 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 29 at 10:21 AM

NEW YORK -- The Boys Scouts of America is considering a dramatic change in its controversial policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members.

“My mom was a lesbian and she was instrumental to my success in boy scouts. I wouldn’t have gotten to Eagle Scout without her,” said Jackson Cooper.

When the BSA affirmed their ban on gays last summer, Cooper sent back his eagle scout in protest for his mother.
Under the change being considered just seven months later, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue -- either maintaining an exclusion of gays or opening up their membership.

“I always believed it would happen, but I didn't think it would happen quite so quickly,” said Greg Bourke.

Bourke was forced to resign as a scout leader from Troop 325 in St. Matthews in August when he came out to the organization.

“I received great support from the scouts, the scout parents and from the other scout leaders in the troop. So, it’s been difficult for all of us to kind of make this adjustment because I was very involved in troop leadership before and I had to step back,” said Bourke.

Bourke welcomes the possibility of being able to join his troop again as a leader.

The announcement of the possible change came Monday after years of protests over the policy -- including petition campaigns that have prompted some corporations to suspend donations to the Boy Scouts.

Under the proposed change, said BSA spokesman Deron Smith, "the Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents.”