Godfrey said the local council doesn’t have a “preconceived agenda” or an official position about the ultimate decision in this case, although he told KSL Radio's Doug Wright Wednesday morning that of the "hundreds" of emails and letters he has received during the past week, "about 95 percent" favor maintaining the current Boy Scout standards for members and leaders.
In its prepared statement, the national board “directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards.”
Based on the immediate reaction to the decision to delay, that discussion will be fervent and intense.
According to thehill.com, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Obama Administration does not “have a response to the (Boy Scouts’) process” but that the president “opposes discrimination in all forms.” During a pre-Super Bowl interview by CBS News last Sunday, President Obama said, “Gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.”
“The Scouts are a great institution that is promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives,” the president added.
Jay L. Lenrow, the former national chairman of the Jewish Committee on Scouting, told the Wall Street Journal continuing the ban violates the Scouts' pluralistic mission. Continuing the ban is "absolutely allowing the teachings of certain religious groups to trump the teachings of other religious groups," he said. "These are not our principles."
Those legal implications could be significant. Andrew Koppelman, a law professor at Northwestern University who wrote a book critical of Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the Supreme Court decision that supported Scouting's right to establish their own values and standards, told thehill.com that even without a national policy prohibiting gay Scouts and Scouters, individual Scouting units "can invoke their own policies, and that would likely stand up in court. But, he added, "they would now be open to pressure and protest within their own communities."
But Brad Hankins, campaign director of Scouts for Equality, a group that delivered several boxes of signatures for a petition urging the national executive board to change the policy, told USA Today his group wouldn't accept the council-by-council approach to Scouting's gay policy.
"We don't want to see Scouting gerrymandered into blue and red districts," he said.
Neither does Brandy Pryde, a Scout leader from Texas who told CNN her church would drop Scouting if the proposed policy change is adopted.
"What happens when we go camping and there's units that allow gays and homosexuals and there's units that don't?" Pryde said. "How are we going to keep them separated from those units and how are we going to instill in our kids Christian values and the biblical truth if that's allowed in our program?"
"This issue is not a gay rights issue," scouter Eric Montague told CNN. "It's a gender-attraction issue and it's also a politics issue. As a local scout leader, I don't need to worry about gay rights — that shouldn't be my role; that shouldn't be what I do. And to push that decision upon me is not the best way to go."
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