Boy Scout leaders follow gay ban delay decision

February 6, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Local Boy Scout leaders are closely following the hotly contested and national debate of whether the Boy Scouts of America will ease its policy of excluding gays.

The Sequoia Council covers four counties across the Central Valley. Local leaders are getting a lot of phone calls, with questions and concerns, from parents and members who stand on both sides of this issue.

The CEO and Scout Executive for the Sequoia Council said, "These are historic times for the Boy Scouts of America". John Richers listened in via conference call, as the National organization's executive board considered whether to ease it's longstanding ban on gays. "If the policy changes, it would be up to the organizations that use the scouting program to determine their own membership standards in this regard."

For the last few weeks, he's fielded phone calls, questions and perspectives from all over the Valley. There's 400 units here, 8 or 9-thousand kids, and 3-thousand adult leaders. Which means- there's a lot of opinions. "They want to know if there's going to be a change, if there's not going to be a change, what are the implications, everyone's concerned about youth and adults so I've become quite a listener in the last week." According to our exclusive Action News poll conducted by SurveyUSA in the Central Valley, 41 percent of those polled think the boy scouts should allow gay scouts. 45 percent think the organization should not allow gay scouts.

The poll also asked whether the scouts should or should not allow gay troop leaders. 36 percent said the organization should allow gay troop leaders, and 54 percent said gay troop leaders should not be allowed in.

As of now, Richers says he doesn't know the implications of the debate. Nor does he know what will change- if anything. "The kids are really what we're all about. So through this whole process we have to make sure nothing hurts the kids."

Richers will be going to Texas in May, when the National council will be voting on the issue


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