Rally Protests Possible Lifting of Ban on Gay Boy Scouts

North Texans, others across country demonstrate ahead of National Council vote on proposal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    About two dozen people demonstrated outside the Circle Ten Boy Council in Fairview, one of 40 that took place across the nation Friday afternoon, against a proposal that would end the Boy Scouts' ban on gay youth.

    Parents and Boy Scouts rallied on Friday against a proposed end to the group's ban on gay youth members.

    The resolution would lift the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay youth while continuing to exclude gays from serving as adult leaders. The BSA National Council will vote on the measure next week.

    About two dozen supporters demonstrated outside the Circle Ten Boy Council in Fairview.

    "We believe sex and politics have no place in the Boy Scouts of America," said rally organizer Thomas Dillingham, a Scout troop adviser.

    "This is an issue of the Boy Scouts of America telling me as an adult leader what to believe," he said.

    The demonstration was one of 40 that took place across the nation Friday afternoon.

    "We respect everyone's right to express an opinion, and we believe our disagreements are minor compared to our shared vision and common goals," the BSA said in a statement. "While people have different opinions about this policy proposal, they can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting."

    The demonstrators said the proposed lifting of the ban on gay youth goes against their values.

    "I would not want my 12-year-old boy to be tenting with an open and avowed homosexual 15, 16 years old," said Ellen Samek, who has a son in the Eagle Scouts. "They're in that stage of their teenage years where they're figuring out who they are and what they believe and putting them in a place where they're looking to a young man of a different value system than what I share, then to me is not a safe place."

    "It's turning it into a political debate, where it shouldn't be addressed at all," said her son, Michael Samek. "There's nothing about Scouts, any part of it, that's prepared or designed to deal with any sexuality topics."

    Gay-rights groups have demanded a complete lifting of the Scouts' long-standing ban on gays, while some churches and conservative groups want it maintained in its entirety.

    When announcing the proposal to lift the ban on gay youth last month, the BSA said that a survey it conducted earlier this year showed that adults and teens in the Scouting community tended to agree that youth should not be excluded.

    Boy Scouts of America said in its statement to NBC 5 on Friday that the resolution is based on that survey, which it called the "most comprehensive listening exercise in its history."

    "This resolution does not, in some way, prevent kids who sincerely want to be a part of Scouting from experiencing this life-changing program and to remain true to the long-standing virtues of Scouting," the BSA said.

    The National Council's 1,400 voting members will vote on the measure Thursday in Grapevine.