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Gay Boy Scouts: Local Reaction

Change would give local sponsors authority to adopt new policy 

Though Westbury and Carle Place Boy Scouts officials declined to comment on whether they’ll allow openly homosexual Scouts and leaders to join, the choice may not belong to them in the near future. 

Boy Scouts of America is considering altering its longstanding policy of disallowing openly homosexual Scouts and leaders, though local Boy Scout sponsors would have the final say whether to adopt the change.

According to Deron Smith, public relations director for Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the policy change under discussion would allow the “religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue.” 

BSA, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010, is one of America’s largest and oldest private youth organizations. BSA may decide to enact the new policy this month following the BSA National Executive Board meeting. 

BSA board members James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, along with Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, noted they both wish to seek changes for the current policy. 

David Kilmnick, executive director, Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, Inc., backs the policy change but noted a potential caveat remains. 

“Either you end discrimination or you don’t. This isn’t like a reality show where we’re voting someone to come back or be a wild card – because the wild card here is whether the chapters adopt the non-discrimination policy,” said Kilmnick. 

Westbury United Methodist Church supports many events for Westbury Troop 233, while American Legion Post 1718 charters Carle Place’s Troop 305. As the BSA mulls its final decision, several local Scout leaders and parents declined to comment. 

“There is no basis for discrimination against people whatsoever other than for them to keep their own power and superiority. The bottom line is that America is better when we are all equal and all have an equal chance to participate in our democracy and our communities,” said Kilmnick. 

Jamie Bogenshutz, executive director at Massapequa’s YES Community Center Director believes the potential change is a positive one. Nassau County’s Boy Scout headquarters, the Theodore Roosevelt Council, is based in Massapequa. 

“We’re always supportive of any policies that are inclusive rather than exclusive. There are always implications for kids who are excluded from things regardless of why they’re excluded and it doesn’t make for healthy development,” said Bogenshutz.