National Boy Scouts board delays decision on changing its stance on sexual orientation

With the Boy Scouts of America announcing Wednesday that it would delay a decision on whether to allow gay members and leaders, local representatives say they are in a holding pattern.

Matt Bear, camp director and spokesman for the San Gabriel Valley Council, said that whichever decision the national executive board makes, that's the decision the council would support.

“We're still sending kids to summer camp. We're still sending kids to the National Jamboree. Everything's still the same,” Bear said.

In a statement, members of the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board said they chose to postpone the vote until May because of the “complexity” of the sexual orientation issue.

The proposal they were considering would have let local Scouting chapters decide membership rules for themselves, allowing for a patchwork of troops that do and don't accept gays.

Bear said the local council has received a handful of calls and emails weighing in on whether to change the rule. The input was evenly split, Bear said, but it hasn't been coming from Scouts themselves.

“We've seen zero responses from the youth... It's definitely something you see on the adult, the leader side,” he said.

Local Scout leader Roger Sanchez, of Troop 101 at the Church of the Incarnation in Glendale, said he was disappointed that the organization's executive board had chosen to put off a decision.

“Sooner or later they're going to have to go with the way the military has gone,” he said. “I think that's the only positive way that the Boy Scouts should go.”

Patti Loitz — president of the Pasadena chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians of Gays — said the approximately 40-member support and advocacy group discussed the anticipated decision by the executive board on Tuesday.

“We're just hoping that this will pass, that the boys will be allowed to be who they are without fear of recrimination or being kicked out,” she said.

The group includes several parents of gay children who came out after their time in the Boy Scouts, Loitz said, adding that members discussed how the current rules hurt gay Scouts.

“To go through the whole program and believe in it heart and soul and not be allowed to be who they are just adds to the psychological impact,” she said.

Still, John Moe, Scout leader for Troop 507 at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Cañada Flintridge, said he doesn't anticipate any impact one way or the other from the delay — or the ultimate decision.

“In nine years, no one has ever approached me about this issue in the troop,” he said. “When national makes a decision, then maybe somebody will say something to me.”


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