Saturday, April 20, 2013
Boy Scouts Propose Lifting Ban on Gay Youth
Courtesy Hanford Sentinel
HANFORD — Under pressure over its long-standing ban on gays, the Boy Scouts of America is proposing to lift the prohibition for youth members while continuing to exclude gays as adult leaders.
The Scouts announced Friday that the proposal would be submitted to the roughly 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20.
Gay-rights groups have demanded a complete lifting of the ban, while some churches and conservative groups want it maintained in its entirety, raising the likelihood that the new proposal will draw continued criticism from both sides.
Local gay rights advocate groups had mixed reactions to the announcement.
“I’m happy, but then I’m not happy,” said Melissa Ballard, president of Hanford Rainbow Pride and co-division leader of Gay Hanford. “If anything, I feel torn. I feel this is a step toward progress, but it’s still not enough. There needs to be inclusion for all members of the organization at all age levels.”
Chris Jarvis, president of Gay Central Valley, had a less positive reaction to the proposal.
“This is still not the right course of action for the Scouts,” Jarvis said. “This idea they have only further perpetuates a negative stereotype about the influence gay adults have on youth. It’s not fair.”