Boy Scouts of America lifts ban on gay youth

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Updated: 5/24/2013 10:22 am
The landscape of the Boy Scouts of America changed forever, when the organization's national council voted to lift a ban denying membership to gay boys and teens.

Supporters of lifting the ban, Tom and Grace Rogers, said they believe it was the right thing to do.

"The more gay people you know, the more you realize they're just people," Grace Rogers said. "We have them in our families. They're no different. They have the same aspirations, the same desires. They can be good people and they can be bad people. It really is not anything but just their sexual orientation."

Scott Scarborough, a local scout leader, said the vote marked a historic and heartbreaking day for Boy Scouts.

"Boy Scouts have foolishly allowed ourselves to be trapped into having this devisive conversation," Scarborough said, "by a small activists group, whose agenda is the destruction of the Boy Scouts."

Scarborough said many of parents of scouts on the South Plains opposed lifting the ban.

"You can bet that our census of Boy Scouts will be 50 percent," Scarborough said, "and 50 percent of the funding, and 50 percent of the leaders."

Tom Rogers, who was a Boy Scout himself and a Boy Scout leader for his three sons, said the organization may lose some members, but the choice will be good in the long run.

"There will certainly be people that feel they have to leave and I think that will be their loss," he said, "and I think it will be a loss for scouting as such."

In his opinion, Rogers said, the opposition to lifting the ban is coming from a place of fear.

"I've lived a year or two and seen a few changes in my life," Tom Rogers said, "I can remember every one of them was based on fear."

Nevertheless, Rogers said, progress must be made.

"Some people are more fearful than others," he said, "but that doesn't make it right."

The turbulence in the Boy Scouts might not be over, however, as the organization continues to have a ban on gay scout leaders.

Scarborough said it is only a matter of time until that ban is lifted, too.

"I would say that's foolish talk," Scarborough said. "That was like a golden handcuff."

The Boy Scouts of America said the policy change will go into effect on Jan, 1 2014, to allow the organization time to transition.

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