Both Liberals and Conservatives Agree New Policy on Homosexuals Will Have Profound Impact on Scouts

It seems as if everyone has an opinion about whether the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) should admit openly homosexual men into its leadership ranks. But in one particular, everyone agrees:  the impact would be profound.

As if to highlight the importance of the decision, even President Barack Obama has weighed in on it. In a pre-Super Bowl interview with CBS News, the president said the Boy Scouts should make the change. Newspapers around the country have editorialized on the subject, almost all of them in favor of the change, with some saying it doesn't go far enough. The liberal New York Times' Jan. 30 editorial said the proposed policy "falls far short of the clear and strong renunciation of anti-gay bigotry that is called for." 

But millions of Americans believe otherwise, and the Boy Scouts have heard from many of them.  The American Family Association (AFA) and the Family Research Council (FRC) have both sent emails to hundreds of thousands of their supporters with instructions to contact the Scouts. The FRC even sent a list of names and phone numbers of Boy Scout board members. The AFA created a petition for its supporters to sign in support of the current policy. As of noon on Monday, more than 90,000 people had signed the petition. Spokesperson Cindy Roberts said the AFA would deliver the petition to the Boy Scouts after the close of business on Monday.

The new policy, if adopted, would allow local councils and individual troops to decide whether homosexuals can serve as Scout leaders. In theory, this change would be consistent with long-standing Scout policy, which allows sponsoring organizations to choose or approve the leaders of the packs and troops they sponsor.

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Warren Cole Smith
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