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School Board Cuts Ties With Boy Scouts Due To Policy Of Banning Gay Members

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CHAPEL HILL — A local school board made a decision late Thursday night that was heard around the country.Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schoolswill cut ties with the Boy Scouts because of the organization's policy to ban gay members unless local troops refuse to follow the national guidelines.

After a three-year relationship with McDougle Elementary, Chapel Hill Cub Scouts are shopping for a new meeting place. The troops already say they have plenty of choices.

"We're disappointed when we lose any charter partner," says Thomas Dugger of theBoy Scouts of America. "[However,] groups have come forward already -- even in the time when it was being considered -- to offer places to meet. So scouting is going to the home that it needs."

The Boy Scouts' relationship with the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district came under scrutiny last summer when the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Scouts could exclude people from the organization based on their sexual orientation. The school district says that decision ran counter to its own non-discrimination policy.

"If national should change their position on the inclusion of youth and adults, then the Board of Education is certain welcome and open to renewing a partnership," says Kim Hoke of Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools.

The school board offered the troops a chance to sign a contract stating that they would not discriminate against gays, but local Boy Scout leaders declined. The board also offered an option for the Scouts to continue to use school facilities, but they would have to pay the going rate.

"We have so many people willing to offer space without pay that it is not an option that's appealing," Dugger says.

The school board did consider an option to suspend the Scouts' charter effectively February 1, but the board decided to give them until the end of the school year.