The Boy Scouts of America will keep their controversial policy banning gay scouts and leaders after a confidential two-year review, the organization said Tuesday.
The announcement comes amid a stepped-up campaign from activist groups urging an end to the membership guidelines.
The Boy Scouts convened a committee of volunteers and professional leaders in 2010 to decide whether the policy was still in the organization’s best interests after a resolution was put forward to reconsider it, the private group said in a statement.
The conclusion of the evaluation was shared at a February board meeting and recently reviewed by the officers of the board, BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in an email.
“The committee included a diversity of perspectives and opinions. The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations – both from within Scouting and from outside the organization. The committee’s work and conclusion is that this policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA’s members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth,” the statement said.
Such resolutions -- to affirm and to reconsider the controversial policy-- had been raised in the past.
In June, the Boy Scouts said the organization was considering a resolution that called for ending the policy. Smith said that while they would “carefully consider” the resolution brought forward, there were “no plans to change this policy.”
Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout who is the son of a lesbian couple, has campaigned for changing the policy, along with Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted from her post as a Tiger Cubs’ den leader in April because she is a lesbian. She started an online petition to seek changes to the Boy Scouts policy.
Smith said in an email that they would accept Tyrrell's petition on Wednesday, but did not plan to discuss the policy. He also said they didn’t expect any further meetings to receive the signatures, about half of which were previously delivered by Wahls at the Boy Scouts' annual meeting in May.
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