Boy Scouts now accept openly gay youngsters
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Boy Scouts of America are starting the New Year with a historical change to their organization.
The ban on gay scouts has been overturned and it's affecting troops across the country. In the Central Valley folks are expressing some mixed emotions about the change.
The Boy Scouts of America were established in 1910 and have been known for the educational experiences it provides for children across the country. A change in policy will allow openly gay children to be a part of the scouts. The new rule is generating reaction from both supporters and those who are not happy with the change.
"I think it's a good idea everyone has a right to be who they are and join whatever they want to join," Sharon Ditzler with Pro Policy Change said.
John Richers, Executive for the Sequoia Council of the Boy Scouts of America said, although most of the feedback he's received has been positive, there have been some organizations that have pulled their support.
"We have had one or two units, our sponsoring organizations, our character partners as we call them, who have decided not to continue with the program," Richers said.
Some parents are so upset they are pulling their children out of the program.
"I'm pulling my son from the program very sadly, and this will probably be the last time I'll wear this uniform in public," anti-gay activist John Stemberger said.
Others like Fresno resident Mike Eckhart have mixed emotions.
"I'm glad I'm older so I don't have to deal with it," Mike Eckhardt from Fresno said.
Richers said despite the change in policy the program's educational objectives remain the same. Parents with questions can contact the scout's local Valley offices in Fresno and Visalia.
While the scouts have implanted this historic change they are still keeping their ban on adult gay leaders.
gay rights, central valley, local, gaby rodriguez
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