NEW YORK (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America may soon give sponsors of troops the authority to decide whether to accept gays as scouts and leaders — a potentially dramatic retreat from an exclusionary nationwide policy that has provoked relentless protests.
Under the change now being discussed, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue — either maintaining an exclusion of gays, as is now required of all units, or opening up their membership.
Gay-rights activists were elated at the prospect of change, sensing another milestone to go along with recent advances for same-sex marriage and the end of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said emphatically Saturday that the Boy Scouts of America shouldn’t soften its strict no-gays membership policy, and dismissed the idea of bending the organization to the whims of “popular culture.”