Two Tennessee Scouts Groups Back Current Policy On Gays

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two Boy Scouts councils in Tennessee said Tuesday they will not support a proposal to partially lift the group's long-standing exclusion of gays.

The Nashville-based Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts said it will vote to support the current national membership policy at the Boy Scouts of America's annual meeting during the week of May 20 in Texas.

Later Tuesday, the Jackson-based West Tennessee Area Council said it does not support a change in the policy.

The Boy Scouts of America last month proposed a policy saying no youth may be denied membership "on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." A ban would continue on leadership roles for adults who are openly gay or lesbian.

The current policy does not grant membership to openly gay individuals.

Hugh Travis, scout executive for the Middle Tennessee Council, said surveys have revealed that the council's parents and leaders believe the current membership policy is a "core value of the Scout Oath and Law."

The council says it represents 35,000 youth and adults in Middle Tennessee. Board President Lee Beaman says it is the council's duty to back the current policy.

"We are continuing to uphold the standards, beliefs and traditions Scouting has held for over 100 years," Beaman said in the statement.

Clif Morris, the West Tennessee council's scout executive, said surveys showed that around 90 percent of local constituents either totally support or somewhat support the BSA's current position.

Morris said the West Tennessee council has about 7,000 youth and adult members in 20 counties. He said the council intends to vote against a change in policy at the BSA's meeting in Grapevine, Texas later this month.

From the Associated Press

Associated Press

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