Scout exec: Decision affirms inclusiveness of Scouts

The council representing Boy Scout groups in Central Missouri believes this week’s vote by the National Council of Scouts to allow homosexual boys into Scouting reaffirms their commitment to serving all youths of this country.

The resolution, which will become effective on Jan. 1, 2014, states, in part, that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

Douglas Callahan, Scout executive for the Great Rivers Council for the Boy Scouts, was in Texas at the meeting where the vote took place.

“I had said I would follow the rules regardless of which way the vote went,” he said. “My job is to promote Scouting and keep the focus on things that unite us.”

The resolution maintains that there can be no gay Scout leaders.

“This is a very complex issue, and people are very passionate about it,” Callahan said. “We’ve had both sides of the issue represented in our council, and we’ve listened and done surveys for the last several months. Time will tell how this will affect Scouts.”

Now that this vote has taken place, Callahan sees his and other Scout leaders’ job as promoting the quality of scouting and making it available to all.

“My hope is that this will help us grow the scouting program,” he said. “It’s good the vote has taken place and now we can move forward.”

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