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President of local advocacy group praises Boy Scout decision

Posted: May 24, 2013 6:17 p.m.
Updated: May 24, 2013 6:17 p.m.
 

The president of a local advocacy group said this week’s decision by the Boy Scouts of America to reverse a long-standing policy barring gay children from joining is a step in the right direction, but more must be done for the scouts to be completely inclusive.

Members of the Boy Scouts of America National Council voted Thursday to allow openly gay members of the community to participate in the organization. The new policy, effective Jan. 1, will not change the current rule barring homosexual adults from acting as leaders.

David McEachern, a former assistant scout master of local troop 609 and president of the Santa Clarita Valley chapter of the nonprofit group Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said this week’s decision is a step toward ending discrimination in the Boy Scouts.

“I’m happy the leadership has brought the Boy Scouts back to serving all youths of all denominations and of all beliefs,” McEachern said Friday. “They need to take the final step to make adult leadership inclusive of all adults of good moral beliefs despite sexual orientation.”

The National Council also reinforced that any sexual act, regardless of orientation, by a youth is considered against the virtues of a Boy Scout.

“Sex and gender identification is not a part of scouting; it is personal,” said Chuck Byers, who volunteers locally with the Boy Scouts. “We of course have behavior standards in scouting but that has nothing to do with orientation.”

The Boy Scouts of America acknowledged in a news release that the policy may draw mixed reactions.

“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in scouting,” the group wrote in a news release.

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