Gay adults will now have the opportunity to hold leadership positions within the Boy Scouts of America. The long standing exclusion was lifted Monday by the National Executive Board. Officials at the Northwest Texas Council say the impact of the change may range across the nation.
“We're still in the Bible belt, so this is still something that, you know, a lot of people they just don't agree with,” said Tim Hunter, the President of the Northwest Texas Council. “Now, as the Northwest Texas Council, you know we will follow national policy.
That policy will eliminate the exclusion of gay adults in leadership roles. It will also provide an opportunity for those individuals to apply for other paid positions throughout the Boy Scouts of America organization.
However some sponsoring entities will be excluded, leaving the leadership decisions up to the organizations, according to Hunter.
A church that is a sponsoring unit will be allowed to discuss its own policy and beliefs with any gay applicants. Even with the change, they have the ability to decline the position to a person that is homosexual.
But regardless of the orientation of those that lead local troops the integrity of the organization will not change, according to Hunter.
“The program will remain the same,” said Hunter. “People who are our leaders will be expected to continue to deliver that program and continue to follow that policy.”
A majority of Texoma residents Newschannel 6 spoke with Monday said they were against the change but declined to comment.
However, one mother of four boys said the news will not keep her kids from participating.
“Personally, I think everyone has the right to believe and do whatever they want and it wouldn't bother me,” said Deanna Mayer.
Officials with the Northwest Texas Council said the exact impact of the change in the community is unknown.
“It has to do with the community and the community's attitude,” said Hunter. “If the community supports the scouting program and what it does, then I don't think you'll see a lot of change.”
Hunter said the local organizations that sponsor troops will meet to discuss the changes.