The Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America will not support a change in membership policy that would have opened up the door to allowing openly gay children to become scouts.
The BSA proposed the idea in April that would have opened up membership to openly gay youth.
Middle Tennessee Scout Executive Hugh Travis told Nashville's News 2 that changing the current, don't ask – don't tell policy, could cause a distraction for scouts.
“Our scout population said they are very comfortable with our current policy,” Travis said.
The Middle Tennessee Council surveyed area scout families and unit leaders before making a decision.
Travis said the organization does not want sexual orientation to be a part of the Boy Scouts of America program.
“By allowing open and avowed homosexual youth, that would allow that discussion to occur at a campout and in a camp setting,” said Travis. “And they are just uncomfortable with that.”
The issue has become a topic of national debate.
Critics say denying membership to openly homosexual youth is discriminatory.
Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the ACLU of Tennessee, says the private, non-profit group has a right to decide who becomes a member and who does not.
But she also said the don't ask, don't tell policy sends the wrong message.
“While they certainly have the right to make that decision, our nation is moving forward and recognizing it's in the best interest of all Americans not to be discriminatory,” Weinberg said.
The Boy Scouts of America's National Council meeting will be held the week of May 20th in Texas.
Around 1,400 voting members from across the country will vote on the proposed policy change.
- January 28, 2013: Local parents react to proposed Boy Scout policy change