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In a historic vote, Boy Scouts allow gay Scout members

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: May 23 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 24 2013 11:55:40 AM CDT

Boy Scouts vote on Gay ban

The Boy Scouts have made a historic announcement allowing openly gay boys into the organization but a ban remains for gay Scout leaders.

Sixty-one percent of the organization's 1,400 volunteers approved the resolution in a silent ballot in Grapevine Texas, early Thursday evening.

The resolution takes effect January 1, 2014.

In the resolution, Boy Scouts of America announced "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."

It's a decision some parents with children and even grandchildren in the organization say is only fair.

" I think that everybody should be treated equally and that really shouldn't be brought into the equation of whether or not somebody should be allowed to do something," said Bethlehem resident Gerri Nazarro whose grandsons are Boy Scouts and son is a Scout leader.

However, groups like the American Family Association of Pennsylvania say the decision was mainly over financial concerns and the need to bolster donations.

There are also parents who worry about how the policy change may impact other Scouts.

“It might create a situation where people are uncomfortable with it ...I'm not quite sure how that would work out honestly,” said Bethlehem resident Sherri Fucito whose son is an Eagle Scout.

In a written statement emailed to WFMZ, the female counterpart to the Boy Scouts responded to Thursday's announcement: “We at Girl Scouts do not comment on the practices of other organizations. However, we are proud of our inclusive policy that welcomes everyone, and our appreciation for diversity and inclusivity extends to the girls we serve and their families, our volunteers, staff, and supporters. We do not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability. In addition, Girl Scouts has a long history of adapting activities for youth who have special needs.”

According to Boy Scout Executive Max Gundersen with the Bucks County Council, the issue of allowing gay adult leaders is something that may come up for discussion in the near future.

Meanwhile, parents have different opinions on the issue, “I don't think that Scouting is concerned about whether or not someone is gay...I think they're more concerned about someone being a secret pedophile. That's what I've seen in my experience with it,” said Fucito.

“I think as long as they're carefully selected, I don't see any reason why there should be a restriction,” said Nazarro.