SAN DIEGO – The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday it will consider reversing its long-standing ban on gay members and whether to allow local organizations to decide their own policy.
Camping Director Karl Shelton, who is with the San Diego-Imperial Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said the San Diego-Imperial Council just learned of the announcement.
“We are not prepared to comment on what specific impact that would have on our programs.” said Shelton, adding that the San Diego-Imperial Council would continue to serve the thousands of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and others who are registered in its council.
Billy Read said he loved his 12 years in the Boy Scouts and particularly enjoyed being an Eagle Scout. He is now the father of a 2-year-old boy and hoped the Boy Scouts was something he would someday get to enjoy with his son.
“It makes me very sad to think that something that I worked so hard for is no longer a part of my life,” said Read. “But I can’t in good conscience support the policies of an organization that so openly discriminates.”
“I hope the Boy Scouts do the right thing,” said Read. “That they open their ranks to everyone.”
In 2000, the Boy Scouts won a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing the organization to ban gays. But in recent years, the group has come under increasing public pressure.
“If I was a father of a young son it would be a concern of mine,” said Shannon Pullaro, a former Scout, who said he has mixed emotions about the Scouts lifting the ban on gays.
“I might have a problem allowing him to go on camping trips, and allowing him to spend a lot of time with somebody that I don’t have same lifestyle as,” said Pullaro.
The change could be announced as early as next week after the groups national board meeting on February 6th.