Report: Boy Scouts Consider Ending Ban on Gays

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 28 2013 1:14 PM

The Boy Scouts Could Drop Their Ban on Gays as Soon as Next Week

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Boy Scouts from the St. Louis metro area pull the flag taut during the National Anthem prior to the game between the New York Jets and St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on Nov. 18, 2012, in St. Louis.

Photo by David Welker/Getty Images

NBC News' Pete Williams with the scoop:

The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest private youth organizations, is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.
If adopted by the organization’s board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial -- one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts.
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According to the report, an official announcement could come as soon as next week. If the group goes through with the change, it would mark a rather stunning reversal in a relatively short period of time. It was only last July that national Boy Scouts officials affirmed the ban, calling it "the best policy for the organization." Since then, however, the push to allow gays into the fold has picked up steam, at both the local level and from deep-pocketed donors. AT&T chief exec Randall Stephenson, for one, had suggested he'd work to end the ban. Stephenson currently sits on the Boy Scouts board and is next in line to be its chairman.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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