Local parents react to proposed Boy Scout policy change

Local parents react to proposed Boy Scout policy change (Image 1)

Some parents want local Boy Scout organizations to keep a ban on gay members and gay leaders in place despite a possible change at the national level.

The Boy Scouts of America signaled a possible change in its long standing membership policy that excluded gay scouts and gay scout leaders.

A vote could come as early as next week to lift the ban.

If the ban is lifted, local organizations that sponsor Boy Scout groups would have the right to uphold similar bans for their organizations.

“The Boy Scouts would not, under and circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,” BSA Spokesman Deron Smith said.

The Middle Tennessee Council of Boy Scouts of America, headquartered in Nashville, did not immediately comment on whether a local ban would stay in place.

The organization released a statement following numerous calls from the media for comment.

“We can assure you the news was as much a surprise to us as it was to you,” Scout Executive Hugh Travis said. “As the national organization weighs this important issue, it's important for us at the council level not to get ahead of ourselves.”

He continued,” No decision has been made yet. We believe it would be irresponsible for us to engage in speculation or [hypothetical's] at this point.”

In Hermitage, parents had heard about the proposed change before bringing their sons to their weekly cub scout meeting.

Cub Scouts is for boys in the second through fifth grades. A number of the boys will transition to Boy Scouts within the next month.

Andy Graves' son joined the scouts three years ago.

“As the dad of four boys it is important that my sons develop character,” he said. “Boy Scouts is an important part of the character development of our sons.”

Graves said he does not want the local organizations to lift the ban on gay members and gay leaders if the national organization decides to move forward with lifting its ban.

“Part of the oath is for them to do the best for God and their country I think that's why a lot of parents have their sons involved in scouting,” he said. “I would want them to keep the ban and to keep things the way they have been throughout the history of scouting.”

Charlie Pate's son is also a Cub Scout. Pate is a former Boy Scout himself. He is also against lifting the ban on gays.

“I think they need to stick with their core values of what scouting has been about for a hundred years,” he said. “I don't know why they feel the need to mess with it.”

Charles Ladd is a den leader and father of a Tiger Cub.

Tiger Cubs are for boys in first grade. Ladd supports making a change to the policy both nationally and locally.

“Hopefully it will help us grow,” he said. “I'd hate for us to lose a child who wants to come into the scouts because of some rule.”

The Boy Scouts have received criticism for its ban on gays in recent months. Over the summer the organization reaffirmed its policy on gay members.

That led to some sponsors like UPS and the Intel Foundation pulling support for the organization.

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