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Local groups weigh in on future of boy scouts

Local Groups Weigh in on Future of Boy Scouts

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Local groups weighed in on the future of local Boy Scout troops on Tuesday pending the decision from Boy Scouts of America on its longstanding policy on openly gay members.

Members discussed the possibility of lifting the ban on Tuesday as part of a three-day National Executive Board meeting in Texas.

Focus on the Family said the organization needs to stick to the policy it's had for over 100 years. It said it's concerned that if the national organization leaves the decision about accepting openly gay members to local troops, those troops will fold under cultural pressure.

"We think it's best for boys to be under the leadership of men who are not in that lifestyle, so that they are not exposed to that example, that there is a strong moral component to the tradition of the Boy Scouts," said Paul Batura with Focus on the Family.

Batura said the decision could impact the longevity of the program in Colorado Springs because it could impact troop sponsorship.

"So many of the scout troops are affiliated with churches and other groups that have strong moral opposition," said Batura.

Deacon Doug Flinn with the Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs said its too early to comment on the church's future involvement with the organization. He said the diocese is waiting for direction from higher-ups in the Catholic church before moving forward with local troop sponsorship.

The executive director of Colorado Springs PRIDE, Charles Irwin, said BSA needs to update its policy if it wants to survive into the future. He cited statistics about dropping numbers in scout membership and troop leaders. He also said, it's about the money.

"If you look at corporate sponsorship, large corporations are saying, 'no we cannot donate to Boy Scouts' because they, the Boy Scouts, are breaking the companies' diversity and discrimination policies," said Irwin.

Batura said the decision could change a young scout's life.

"Scouting is actually a great place for a young person who is even trying to explore who they are, and what they - if they are feeling sexually confused, under the leadership of a strong man who is married to his wife, what a great place to put a young boy," said Batura.

But Irwin had a different opinion about Focus on the Family's idea.

"Well, that's the old 'pray-your-gay-away' philosophy," said Irwin. "That's been proven over and over again not to be anywhere near accurate."

Irwin said the potential policy change doesn't go far enough because the decision whether to accept openly gay members could be left up to local troops to decide.

The National Executive Board meeting will meet again Wednesday to discuss the policy change.


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