Pres. Obama encourages Boy Scouts to drop anti-gay policy

Pres. Obama encourages Boy Scouts to drop anti-gay policy

President Barack Obama says the Boy Scouts of America should open its membership to gays and lesbians when its national executive board discusses the issue this week.

Obama praised the scouts as “a great institution” that promotes young people, giving them lifelong leadership training and opportunities. During a pre-Super Bowl interview on CBS, he said “no one should be barred from that.”

The Boy Scouts announced last week that it was considering replacing its longstanding ban on gays with a policy to let troop sponsors make their own decision on the issue.

The White House said last summer during the presidential campaign that Obama opposed the Scouts’ policy of excluding gays as members.

Gay rights activists praised last week’s announcement, while some conservative church groups expressed alarm.

In the meantime, Utah’s Boy Scouts have brought aboard 33 other scouting groups from around country to join them in calling on the national organization to delay a decision on a reversal of its no-gays membership policy.

Boy Scouts in the Great Salt Lake Council have sent a letter to the national board of directors cautioning them against making a decision that cannot be undone. The council says it represents a coalition of 33 Boy Scout groups accounting for nearly 540,000 youth scouts.

The Boy Scouts of America’s national executive board is expected to discuss a policy that would let troop sponsors make their own decisions about gay troop leaders and youth members this week during meetings in Dallas.

In Utah, most troops are sponsored by the Mormon church.

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