One year after reaffirming its stance against gay membership, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will vote this week on whether to lift the ban, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The BSA board is convening at the organization’s headquarters in Texas to discuss the controversial decision, reports say. The board has said it will consider lifting the national restriction against gay membership, instead leaving the call up to local troop leaders.
An upcoming vote will determine how the group proceeds, but there’s already plenty of influence on both sides of the fence.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama strongly voiced his support for equal access to the organization, regardless of sexual orientation. However, other notable figures such as Texas Governor Rick Perry—an Eagle Scout—say the policy is fine as it stands.
Should the vote pass, the decision to allow or prohibit gay members will be in the hands of local Scout troops.
Rainbow Council response
The Boy Scouts of America's Rainbow Council for Will, Grundy and Kankakee Counties is committed to following the directives handed down by the national board of the BSA. Marc Ryan, Scout executive and CEO for the Rainbow Council, headquarted in Morris, IL said, "We're just going to do what they say."
National leaders are taking due diligence as to how best to serve all "its partner organizations, including churches, youth and families."
"The Rainbow Council prepares young people for life through the work it does in over 150 Scouting units engaging approximately 1,000 volunteer leaders," he added.
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The efforts made by the New Lenox Boy Scout troops are the perfect example of service in the community, according to Ryan. In November 2012, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts collected 42,000 food items to donate to three local food pantries.
Outreach such as the "New Lenox food drive (is) what we care about. That's the power of Scouting," Ryan said.
About 40,000 boys participate in Scouting through the Rainbow Council. In preparation for the holidays, all total they collected about 120,000 pounds of food for pantries in three counties.
The aim of Scouting’s mission is to prepare young people to make moral and ethical choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. It is the foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information about Scouting locally, visit the Rainbow Council website.
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