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Boy Scouts considers lifting ban on gay members
It's been an outlet for character building and developing life skills for over 100 years. Now, the Boy Scouts of America is facing a fundamental change. Will they allow gay scouts and leaders to participate in the organization?
News 5's Lauren Conley spoke with the Overland Trails Council Executive Thursday.
Dave Plond of the Overland Trails Council in Grand Island is getting feedback from troop leaders and parents. He's sending it back to nationals.
This can be an uncomfortable topic for people in this area. And, Plond says reaction is split.
"It's an extremely sensitive issue for all involved and we are trying to act within the best interest of our charter organizations," said Plond.
In the 1980's Boy Scouts started denying membership from openly gay individuals.
By the early 90's the organization put an official ban on gay membership.
Just this summer Boy Scouts of America announced they were going to stick with the ban.
But, have the demands of an ever-changing society pushed them to re-evaluate, yet again?
"We're a very divided country. We have huge value systems that are very different," Plond said.
If the ban is lifted, it will be up to local chartered organizations to decide if sexual orientation will play a role in who can wear one of these uniforms.
"That individual chartered organization, be it a church or a school, will decide what's in the best interest of them and their constituents," said Plond.
The Southern Baptist Convention announced their disapproval of the ban being lifted earlier this week.
Churches sponsor well over half of the nation's boy scout troops.
While there's mixed feelings among Nebraskans, there's at least one local church sponsor who'd like to see the ban lifted.
"I think as a society, we're seeing how we can move forward without having to impose that kind of judgment and really an obstacle to keep people from participating in something that is greatly needed," said Pastor Tony Dawson.
Pastor Tony Dawson admits it's a divisive issue among churches and church members.
But, if the ban is lifted, the First United Methodist Church will welcome everyone.
"To single out a people for the sole purpose of excluding them just is wrong. I don't care who it is," said Dawson.
A vote by the Boy Scouts Board will take place next week in Texas.
One thing that's important to note since it will be up to individual charter's to decide: members can choose to be part of a charter that either does or doesn't allow gay members.
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