Former Eagle Scout James Dale, center, talks to the press in front of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, April 26, 2000, after Supreme Court justices joined debated whether the Boy Scouts of America can bar gays from serving as troop leaders.
As early as next week, the Boy Scouts of America may announce it will allow gay Scouts and troop leaders, a spokesman for the group has told USA TODAY.
If this policy shift is approved by the national board meeting next week, it will be a sharp reversal of the Scouts’ decades’ old national policy banning homosexuals.
“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue,” BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Only seven months ago, the Boy Scouts affirmed its ban on gays after a nearly two-year examination of the issue by a committee of volunteers convened by national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America, known as the BSA. However, local chapters and some members of the national board — corporate CEO Randall Stephenson of AT&T and James Turley of Ernst & Young — called for a reconsideration.
The proposed new policy would leave decisions on membership and leadership up to the BSA’ s 290 local governing councils and 116,000 sponsoring religious and civic groups.
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