Texas Lawmakers Take Stance on Gays Joining Boy Scouts (Updated)
Update: The Boy Scouts of America board delayed its vote on whether to end a ban on gay membership until May.
Original Story (8:13 a.m.):More than 40 elected officials from across Texas have signed an open letter encouraging the Boy Scouts of America to maintain its current membership policy—which doesn’t allow gay members or scout masters.
Gov. Rick Perry made his stance on the issue clear last weekend. Now, lawmakers including Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Stapes are signing on to show their opposition to a change to the policy. A rally and prayer vigil at the Boy Scouts National headquarters in Irving has also been scheduled for this morning.
Now, the question remains: Will gay youth and scout masters be able to join the Boy Scouts?
Board members of the Boy Scouts of America could make the decision today during a national executive board meeting. The new policy would give local chapters the authority to decide on the matter themselves.
President Barack Obama and gay activities support the inclusive move.
But many conservative groups have come out against it, including Texas Values—the conservative group that drafted the open letter and is organizing the vigil. The Family Research Council along with 41 other groups ran a newspaper ad in USA Today last Monday urging the Boy Scouts to "stand firm for timeless values."
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court decided 5-4 that the Boy Scouts have the right to ban gays. The renewed debate over whether to lift the ban comes with declining youth membership.