Boy Scouts of America Delays Decision on Lifting Ban of Gays
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Matt Comer was just a few badges shy of the second highest rank in boy scouting when his scout master dismissed him for being gay. "I was 14 years old, I was intimidated, I was scared, here was a man who's many many times older than I am, someone I respected as a friend and mentor, telling me that I no longer belonged. Yeah, it was scary. I didn't feel I belonged anymore."
Comer, now the editor of Charlotte's gay newspaper, Q-Notes, is also co-founder of The Inclusive Scouting Network. It monitors troop policies across the country and awards a "inclusive scouting patch." It's distributed more than 7,000 patches in the past 6 months to troops not only in America, but across the globe.
Comer says Wednesday's decision by the Boy Scouts of America to delay its vote on lifting it's ban of gays is a good thing. He says, "It really is a positive thing. It means the discussion is gonna continue to happen, that the door on that discussion has not been closed over the next several months."
"I'm afraid the die is cast. That they will go that direction," says Paw Creek Ministries Pastor Joe Chambers. He says the Boy Scouts of America has sent a message by even considering lifting its ban. Chambers says the problem with gay boy scouts - and specifically, scout leaders - is role modeling. "You're saying to every boy in that scout club, 'You should emanate (sic) what this person is. You should want to be like them.' It's a wonderful program. To bring this into it, somebody's just not thinking."
Scout officials decided that any decision on changing the policy on gays will be up to the 1,400 voting members of the group's national council at a meeting in Texas in May.