Local scouting community reacts to Boy Scouts vote - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Local scouting community reacts to Boy Scouts vote

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Members of the scouting community in Mecklenburg County are hoping for unity now that The Boy Scouts of America's National Council has voted to modify membership requirements and lift the ban on gay youth.

"I wasn't particularly surprised one way or the other" says Julian Love.

Love is the Scout Master of Troop 116 in Charlotte.

He doesn't believe the membership change will have much of an impact on his troop.

"It's very hard to predict" says Love. "But I don't think our troop will be affected."

Love says the Pastor of the Church that sponsors his troop told him the mission is to stay focus on the Boy Scouts principles.

"This membership issue and this whole business of sexual orientation - that's a matter between youth and family" says Love.

Matt Comer, a former Boy Scout who is gay, says "honestly I was stunned and speechless for a while."

Comer, who is attending the Equal Scouting Summit in Texas - across the street from the Boy Scouts National Council Meeting, says he was 14 years old when he was kicked out of the scouts because of his sexual orientation.

"I've waited 13 years to hear the Boys Scouts rescind and change their mind about this policy that hurt me when I was a kid" says Comer.

Mark Turner, the Scout Executive of the Mecklenburg County Council tells WBTV there were six people from his council who were eligible to vote to modify the Boy scouts membership requirements and lift the gay ban.

The Scout Executive says he doesn't know how the six voted, just that they represented both sides of the issue.

Turner says he has heard from people who are supportive of the vote, and from those who told him they were disappointed.

Turner says no charter member or local troop told him they were leaving the Boy Scouts.

There are 10,000 scouts in Mecklenburg County and 3600 volunteers.

Turner says he believes 99.5% of the scouting community will unite to deliver a scouting program despite their opinions of the vote.

"As a council, we will move forward and stay united" says Turner.

However, some scout leaders and volunteers who are members of Onmyhonor.net are against the change in policy, and are threatening to leave the Boy Scouts and form a separate organization.

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