Local scouts react to lifting of ban on homosexual leaders
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JACKSON, Tenn. — With a ban on homosexual leaders lifted, officials with Boy Scouts of America say the change will have little effect on their programs. “There’s no change in our mission. There’s no change in our secret oath. There’s no change in our scout law. There’s no change in how we will deliver the program to our youth,” Executive Scout for the West Tennessee Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America Clif Morris said Tuesday. Morris said just like before the ban on homosexual leaders was lifted, local troops still have the final say in who leads them. “Local chartering institutions — churches, civic clubs and such — have the absolute control as to the selection of their adult leadership, and they will be able to maintain that type of leadership selection process,” Morris said. Some activist groups say lifting the ban is a big step forward. “There have been LGBT scout leaders for years, and there have been LGBT members of the scouts for years,” Tennessee Equality Project member Drew Baker said. “I guess on the ground it changes very little. Symbolically, it’s very important.” The Tennessee Equality Project says allowing homosexual leaders opens the door for more acceptance. “We don’t need to be telling children, LGBT youth in this country, that there’s anything wrong with them and that they can be part of an organization like the Boy Scouts of America and be exactly who they want to be,” Baker said. Scouts said despite the national attention, this decision changes nothing. “We will continue to offer those programs of character development, citizenship training, personal development in an unwavering and unchanged manner,” Morris said.