Scouts considering retreat from no-gays policy
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Boy Scouts of America may soon let sponsors of troops decide whether to accept gays as scouts and leaders.
Under the change now being discussed, the religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue -- either maintaining an exclusion of gays, as is now required of all units, or opening up their membership.
Gay-rights activists were elated at the prospect of change, which a Boy Scouts spokesman said could be announced next week.
But Southern Baptist leaders -- who consider homosexual acts sinful -- were furious about the possible change and said its approval might encourage their churches to support other boys' organizations instead.
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said: "The bishops hope the Boy Scouts will continue to work under the Judeo-Christian principles upon which they were founded and under which they have served youth well."