US: Boy Scouts of America set to accept gay youth members
On 1 January the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is to enact an historic change in policy to allow openly gay youth members to join its ranks.
The change allows individual scouting troops to decide whether to allow gay members. The official lifting of the ban takes place on 1 January 2014.
The organisation said it needed time to make necessary changes.
While openly gay members will be permitted, gay adult volunteers and staff will still be prohibited.
The decision to allow gay youth members to serve in the BSA has proven controversial for some troops, and a few have severed their ties with the governing body.
Remaining optimistic, however, the BSA said that less than 2% of its troops made the decision to cut ties.
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A member of the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) national executive board earlier this week spoke out about the organisation’s change of policy to allow gay members, to say the organisation hopes it will be a non-event like the Y2K scare in 1999.
Troop number 835, from the Auburn and Pacific area of Washington this week announced that it is the latest to abandon the BSA over the move. Others have said they will do so once the policy changes.
The Boy Scouts of America became embroiled in a debate over whether to lift its ban on gay volunteers, members and staff. In February, it delayed the vote until May “due to the complexity of the issue”.