Middle TN Boy Scouts council to vote against allowing openly gay members

2:04 PM, May 7, 2013   |    comments
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By Adam Tamburin | The Tennessean

The Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America announced today it would not support proposed policy change that would open membership to young people who are openly gay.

The Executive Committee of the National Boy Scouts announced in April that they would submit the proposed change to the roughly 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20.

The Scouts' current policy bars, "individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the Boy Scouts of America."

Voting members of the Middle Tennessee Council announced in a statement that they would vote against the proposed change, instead supporting the current policy.

According to local surveys, "the parents, leaders and chartered partners in the Middle Tennessee Council believe that the current membership policy is a core value of the Scout Oath and Law," Hugh Travis, Scout executive for the Middle Tennessee Council, said in a statement.

"We are continuing to uphold the standards, beliefs and traditions Scouting has held for over 100 years," Lee Beaman, president of the Middle Tennessee Council Board, said in the statement. "As a representative of the 35,000 youth and adults in the Middle Tennessee Council, it is our duty to take their voice to Grapevine, Texas on May 23 with a vote to uphold the current membership policy."

The Middle Tennessee Council said in its statement it is an independent nonprofit organization separate from but chartered by Boy Scouts of America to organize Scouting units and manage all Scouting programs in a 37-county region in Tennessee.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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