Boy Scouts Board Member Supports Changing Policy Against Gay Leaders

A Boy Scouts of America board member, who serves as CEO of global professional service company Ernst & Young, said he is against the Scouts' policy banning gay people from serving as leaders in the organization.

"I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning and service, however the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse," said James Turley earlier this week.

"As I have done in leading Ernst & Young to being a most inclusive organization, I intend to continue to work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress," he added.

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Last week, the Boy Scouts of America revealed that they will review their 102-year-old policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving as scout leaders within the organization. The organization made it clear, however, that they have no current plans to actually change the policy.

"While we'll carefully consider this resolution, there are no plans to change this policy," said Deron Smith, the Scouts' public relations director, adding that the issue was a long-standing one that has been debated often.

"While the BSA does not proactively inquire about sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA," Smith added in a previous statement.

The debate was re-sparked when 20-year-old Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout with two lesbian mothers, delivered more than 275,000 signed petitions, which included some notable celebrity names, asking the organization to reconsider allowing gay persons to serve as leaders.

"Clearly this shows that there's a little bit more internal discussion than they might be outwardly describing, so in a very real sense this was in a lot of ways kind of the best possible, most realistic outcome of that delivery of that petition," Wahls said, referring to the petition started in support of Jennifer Tyrrell, a 32-year-old Scout den mother in Ohio who was removed from her position because she was revealed to be a lesbian.

Two top Boy Scout leaders, National President Wayne Perry and Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca, responded on Wednesday with a joint statement saying they respect Turley's opinion, but can agree to disagree.

"The Boy Scouts of America respects the opinions of our board members and are thankful for their leadership," the statement said. "While we have supporters and board members with different viewpoints on this issue, and who may choose a different direction for their organizations, we believe that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together."

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