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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Scouting policy at forefront

  • On today's front page is what will likely be a controversial story.
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  • On today's front page is what will likely be a controversial story.
    This coming Sunday, a meeting is scheduled in Beach Lake focusing on the issue of gay youth and leadership in the Boy Scouts.
    The meeting is being led by Leo Giannini, co-founder of Scouts for Equality. This group is one of the leading voices calling for equality in Scouting.
    The timing of the meeting is very interesting given the fact that NBA player Jason Collins announced on Monday of this week that he is gay.
    Collins is the first male player in the four major American sports leagues to come out while still playing.
    It made worldwide news on Monday when Collins made his announcement.
    In general, the reaction seemed to be positive though there was certainly some negativity spread in among those weighing in on the subject.
    It appears that public opinion in America has shifted dramatically over the past decade when it comes to gay and lesbian issues. Poll after poll show that the majority of Americans are favorable for everything from gay marriage to gays in the Boy Scouts.
    That does not mean, however, this isn't a controversial matter. In fact, it's very controversial and sparks a lot of debate.
    The United States Supreme Court took up the issue recently and more matters relating to the same issue are on the court's docket. It's the first time the court has taken a serious look at these issues.
    The argument by many is this is a matter of equality. Many say it is no different than equal rights for women or for African Americans.
    That appears to be the approach being taken by the group which is taking a stance in Wayne County.
    This meeting also comes about three weeks before the National Council of Boy Scout Representatives takes a vote on whether or not to change the policy and allow gay youth into the organization.
    Page 2 of 2 - There are those who don't want to see this policy changed.
    When the issue arose a few months ago, we tried in vain to talk to local representatives in the Boy Scouts but nobody wanted to go on record with an opinion.
    That showed us then this issue is very controversial within the Boy Scouts in spite of the fact many other organizations have changed their policies toward gay and lesbian members.
    Changing an institution is not an easy thing to get accomplished. Many times, those in charge have been there for decades and want to see things remain the same. That is almost certainly the case with the Boy Scouts.
    On the other hand, it appears the tide has shifted and the public is demanding policies like that of the Boy Scouts be changed for good.
    Younger people appear to have very different attitudes when it comes to gay and lesbian issues. Most, it seems, don't really care about someone's sexual orientation.
    Go to any high school and ask the question and the answer is going to be almost universal.
    Over time, many of the policies similar to the one of the Boy Scouts will likely change. It is almost inevitable.
    We are seeing it throughout this country with legal gay marriage in several states and more likely to change in the future.
    No matter your stance on this issue, we encourage everyone to attend the meeting Sunday in Beach Lake and simply listen. That is the way you learn about issues which are controversial and many times very difficult.
    See our front page story for the details about the meeting.

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