The Boys Scouts of America is considering a dramatic change in its controversial policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members.
Under the change being considered, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue; either maintaining an exclusion of gays or opening up their membership.
Scout executive and CEO Ronald M. Gardner of the local New Birth of Freedom Council issued a statement Monday on the news.
"This is an internal policy discussion and no decision has been made. I can say that local councils agree to support the decision made by the volunteer national executive board. Our unified focus is on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training," the statement read.
Louie Marven is the Executive Director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans-gender Center of Central Pa. He said the policy the scouts currently have is basically the equivalent of "Don't ask, Don't tell."
"I think it's about time," he said. "I think it's maybe a sign of the times that we're getting to a place that we recognize that there's nothing wrong with being gay."
"There are gay scouts and there are gay leaders already involved and they're already doing great work and they're an organization that can benefit greatly from that participation," he continued.
Marven conceded that some people in the gay community may have taken the attitude that "if you don't want us, we don't want you." But, he said, others just want to be a part of the group.
"The Boy Scouts offer a great community service and LGBT folks and allies aren't just attacking Boy Scouts for fun. They want to participate in the great community service," Marven said.
Some Christian groups are enraged by the move, calling it a "serious mistake."