The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 24, 2013

Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay boys

(Continued)

The Assemblies of God said the policy change "will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program." It also warned that the change would make the BSA vulnerable to lawsuits seeking to end the ban on gay adults.

John Stembeger, a conservative activist and former Scout from Florida, founded a group called OnMyHonor.net to oppose the policy change. He assailed the BSA executive committee for its role in gaining a "Yes" vote.

"What kind of a message are we sending to young people about being brave when its top adult leaders don't even have the courage to stand up to the pressure of a militant lobby when the bullies in Washington D.C., Hollywood or even some of their own renegade councils start pressuring and harassing them?" he asked.

He said OnMyHonor.Net and other like-minded organizations and individuals would meet in Louisville, Ky., next month to discuss the creation of "a new character development organization for boys."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry also expressed dismay.

"While I will always cherish my time as a Scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision," he said.

The result was welcomed by many liberal members of the Scouting community and by gay-rights activists, though most of the praise was coupled with calls for ending the ban on gay adults.

"I'm so proud of how far we've come, but until there's a place for everyone in Scouting, my work will continue," said Jennifer Tyrrell, whose ouster as a Cub Scout den leader in Ohio because she is lesbian launched a national protest movement.

Tyrrell recalled having to tell her son she had been forced out as den mother.

"He doesn't deserve to be told that we're not good enough," she said. "We're not going to stop until this is over."

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