GRAPEVINE, Texas, (UPI) — The Boy Scouts of America national council Thursday voted in Texas to overturn the organization’s ban on gay scouts but retain a ban on gay adult scout leaders.
More than 1,400 voting members of the council voted on the issue at the council’s annual meeting in Grapevine, near the BSA national headquarters in suburban Dallas, USA Today reported.
Gay Scouts, Scout leaders and supporters held what they called an Equal Scouting Summit across the street from the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, where the BSA national council was meeting, the newspaper said.
Once the vote to overturn the ban is implemented, openly homosexual adults will still be barred from volunteer or paid positions in the BSA, The Dallas Morning News said.
No protests were reported at the convention center, but supporters of maintaining the ban — many of them carrying signs with slogans such as “Keep Scouts Morally Straight” — stood outside the facility Wednesday evening.
Barry Price, 68, of Grapevine, a businessman and former Boy Scout who joined Wednesday’s protest, told the Los Angeles Times ending the ban on gays would be the end of the Boy Scouts. But a petition to change the rules picked up 1.8 million signatures, far more than a petition to keep the ban.
Zach Wahls, 21, an Idaho Eagle Scout who has lesbian mothers and helped gather signatures for the first petition, said the organization is now in a “conversation” on gays in Scouting.
“That being said, we want full inclusion — ending the ban on gay youth and leaders,” he told the Times.