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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Controversy surrounds Scout issue

  • When the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced the proposed plan to lift the ban on gays, controversy wasn't far behind. People want to know: how will this affect boy scouting?
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  • — When the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced the proposed plan to lift the ban on gays, controversy wasn't far behind. People want to know: how will this affect boy scouting?
    The issue has certainly grabbed the attention of the nation and people are taking over Twitter with opinions on both sides of the issue.
    One person, unhappy with the plan Tweeted, “The same. Homosexual Men leading young men just doesn't seem right to me. Maybe I'm out of line, but this may lead to the fall of Boy Scouts.”
    Nastier still is this Tweet that says, “Allowing Homosexual Boy Scout Leaders would be a potentially HORRIFIC error. Wise up, Boy Scouts!!!” That person also shared a link that tries to compare homosexuality to child sexual abuse.
    Another person mocked the idea by tweeting, “The second the Boy Scouts lift their gay ban - those drab uniforms are gonna get such a fabulous updating.”
    But there are also some positive Tweets and comments. There are 'open letters' people wrote, as well as a line to call for your opinion on keeping the ban or not. That number is 972-580-2330
    There is even a movement at www.gladd.org/scouts/tellbsa, encouraging the public to tell the Boy Scouts to “support inclusive Scouting and end the ban on gay scouts and leaders.” It says that BSA is asking for your input as to whether or not the ban should be lifted.
    People who Tweeted from that movement have posts that read, “Dear @BoyScouts, I support inclusive Scouting. End the ban on gay scouts and leaders. #BoyScouts http://www.glaad.org/scouts/tellbsa.”
    “The proposal would remove the ban at the national level and pass the decision to the local level,” said Marcel Cinquina, Scout Executive of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council for BSA. “I'm not sure what affect it will have. Some will be happy about it and some won't. I've seen a mixed reaction. There will be people who will be upset either way.”
    Cinquina said there are 290 local councils in Northeast PA. They are chartered through the national office, but would now make the decision to allow gays themselves, if the proposal passes next week.
    He also talked about scouting safety.
    “Everyone who is interested in becoming a leader must get a background check,” Cinquina stated. “There is also youth protection training they must take, which is to help provide scouts with a safe environment.”
    He said the leaders who do the terrible things are a “small, small percentage.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “When they go out on trips there are always at least two leaders present,” he stated. “If it's a coed group there has to be one leader that's male and one that's female. There are a lot of barriers to keep the scouts safe. My main concern is to provide every scout with the best environment possible.”
    Cinquina was the only person involved with scouting who would comment on this issue.

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