NC groups laud Scouts' decision to allow gay boys
Posted May 24, 2013
The decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay boys to join was cheered Friday by two North Carolina advocacy organizations.
The LGBT Center of Raleigh and Equality NC, a statewide political group that works for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, called on the Scouts to go even further and allow gay Eagle Scouts and troop leaders.
“Without a doubt, today marks a historic moment for fairness and equality in scouting,” Stuart Campbell, executive director of Equality NC, said in statement. “Equality NC applauds the Boy Scouts of America for taking a step in the right direction by lifting the ban on gay kids. Scouting is an important institution for millions of kids and young adults, and all children, regardless of sexual orientation, should have an equal opportunity to benefit from that experience. However, the BSA’s policies still leave behind gay Eagle Scouts who turn 18, and gay and lesbian scout leaders and parents who simply want to volunteer their time and share their experience, and they should be given the opportunity to do so.”
The Scouts' longstanding ban on gay adults remains in force, and many liberal Scout leaders — as well as gay-rights groups — plan to continue pressing for an end to that exclusion even though the BSA's top officials aren't ready for that step.
"The LGBT Center of Raleigh applauds the BSA for their vote to allow LGBT youth into their program, but it does not go far enough,” James Miller, the center’s executive director, said in a statement. “By maintaining their ban on gay and trans individuals from becoming scout masters, this action is merely a first step on the road to equality."
Tom Wells, a Scouts lodge advisor in Raleigh, said he hopes the decision will satisfy those who have rallied for the change.
"I think it's probably a good decision based on current social situations," he said.
While Wells agrees with the move to allow gay scouts, he's not sure about the idea of permitting gay adults into the organization.
"I still have some concerns and apprehensions about openly gay adults participating in scouting," he said. "Scouting has a strong program for the protection of youth."