Boy Scout troops across the country could soon be able to decide for themselves whether to admit scout masters and troop members of all sexual orientations.
If the Boy Scouts of America leaves the decision up to individual troops, Austin could have troops with a variety of policies.
A search of troops in the Austin area shows many are sponsored by churches. A couple of the scout masters for those troops said they couldn’t talk about extending membership to boys and men of all sexual orientations until they got the okay from their sponsoring churches.
Granville Ott has been a scout master for about 30 years. He says while the issue of sexual orientation has never come up in his troop, the church that sponsors it is known for being more accepting.
“That’s one of the things that the Episcopal Church is. It tolerates within the total body of the Anglican community a range... rather than having a very narrow belief in one direction," Ott says.
Still, Ott says, if the Boy Scouts leaves the decision up to individual troops, his troop's policy wouldn’t change overnight.
“Well, not until it became an issue for us," Ott says. "If we had a case that we had to deal with then it would become a discussion topic for the troop committee to discuss.”
Ott says, if the change happens, he just wants the Boy Scouts to have leaders who are good examples and who don’t force their feelings on the scouts one way or the other.