MN Boy Scout families protest change in 'gay member' policy

7:44 AM, May 18, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- A small group of Minnesota Boy Scout families gathered on Friday to protest a proposed policy change by the Boy Scouts of America.

Next week, the group's National Council will vote on a whether to allow openly gay scouts. The organization would continue its ban on gay scout masters.

According to those who support the change, the move would affirm all youth. But those opposed to the change -- including those who rallied on Friday -- say they want to "keep frankly sex and politics out of scouting."

"If the policy changes now, we're going to have children at odds with scout masters, scout masters at odds with parents, parents with other parents. And it's going to take the focus completely off of what it is that we do in scouting," said Paul Sheldon, leader of Troop 589 in Chaska.

A statement on the website of the Northern Star Council, which serves nearly 80 thousand scouts in Minnesota and Wisconsin said:

"As the Boy Scouts of America prepares to vote to remove restrictions regarding sexual orientation for youth members, the focus should be on what is most important - young people themselves. Everything we do revolves around keeping young people safe and preparing them to be leaders and individuals of strong character by helping them discover the principles of Scouting.

If passed, the proposed resolution will bring the national policy in closer alignment with our council's long-standing behavior-based approach. The resolution further states that all members must display the highest levels of good conduct, that any sexual conduct is unacceptable and that resolving issues of sexual orientation in our society is outside the scope of Scouting's mission.

Within the Northern Star Council, parents and communities decide as they always have who they want their Scout leaders to be, and parents freely choose the units that they believe will provide the best experience for their children. Northern Star Council has always expected appropriate behavior from all leaders and members."

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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