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Ramon Johnson

NEWS: Boy Scouts Set To Vote on Gay Members

By February 6, 2013

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The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is set to vote this Wednesday on allowing gay members.

Although public consideration of the issue is new, the debate over an inclusive Boy Scouts has been a point contention for many gay members. The organization has previously been vocally opposed to including gays within its ranks, defending the traditions of the long-running club. BSA leaders called the inclusion of gays a "distraction to the mission".

BSA has 2.7 million members nationwide, but 70 percent of the troops are affiliated with religious organizations. In 2000, BSA won huge victories when the Supreme Court ruled they had the constitutional right to exclude gay members. The honeymoon was short lived, however. The high court ruled that BSA could reject gay applicants, but it didn't say they were entitled to keep the public meeting spaces that were gifted to them by many municipalities.

In 2010, the city of Philadelphia tried to evict BSA from a city-owned building because of their discriminatory policies. A federal judge again ruled that the eviction was not legal. This example was one of many battles that ended on the side of tradition.

The luck of the scouts may be running thin, as more Americans support gay equality and find less tolerance for overt discrimination.
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