Council calls for unity as Boy Scouts prepare to vote on gay ban - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Council calls for unity as Boy Scouts prepare to vote on gay ban

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Members of the Boys Scouts of America (BSA) will vote next week on whether to lift the ban on gays scouts.

Members of the National Council Representatives from local councils around the country will meet in Dallas on Thursday and vote whether to adopt a new membership policy that would allow an open environment for gay scouts.

The issue is apparently causing division in the program.

The Mecklenburg County Council has not taken a stand in the issue.

However, leaders sent an email to members saying "it is my hope that regardless of the outcome of the vote, our organization will unite and move forward. We should not cheer in victory if the vote goes 'our' way or sulk in defeat if it does not."

The email goes on to say "we should pull together for the future of the youth we serve."

Leaders of the Mecklenburg County Council say they've heard from both sides of the issue.

They say people have told them "I will not support the BSA if the policy is changed" or "I will not support the BSA unless the current policy is changed."

On Friday - - a group of parents and volunteer scout leaders met outside the Mecklenburg County Council to urge local delegates to vote against the proposed change.

"Part of our roots are being physically strong, mentally awake, morally straight" Skip Alexander told the group. "That's what our membership rules were in place - our founders - that wisdom from God to put us in position where we are today. We need to stay with that  - stay the course."

Another speaker said "by introducing this more open homosexual position into the scouting ranks, we allow the much younger scouts to fall into submission, to the influence, and to the older scouts expressing themselves this way."

Matt Comer of the Inclusive Scouting Network was listening and decided to speak.

"I was a star scout. Two requirements away from achieving my life scout after which I could have begun working on eagle scout award and I came out as gay."

Comer says when he was 14-year-old - while learning to speak out against bullying and harassment - he was kicked out of the boy scouts.

"It pains me very deeply to hear some of the things that were said here about gay people," Comer told the gathering. "The words that you say and the way you go about excluding people hits at the heart of young people."

But Ken Barna says he stands firmly with the gay ban.

"Homosexuality is sexually - it's amoral. It's not ordained by God" he said. "It's something that is immoral and cannot be embraced in the scouting organization"

Barna says when scouts are out on trips, the boys tend to "clown around." He believes allowing open homosexuality  "introduces a lot more problems."

Barna says the Boy Scouts of America is a private organization and they're "fighting for the boys and the wholesomeness of scouting."

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