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Boy Scouts reaffirms ban on gays. Is it out of step with the times? (+video)

The Boy Scouts said it was keeping its ban on gays after a 2-year review by a panel representing a 'diversity of perspectives.' Critics said the organization was at odds with its own principles.

The Boys Scouts of America says no gay boys or leaders allowed. The organization upheld its policy after a two-year review brought on by pressure from gay rights groups.
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The Boy Scouts of America announced Tuesday that it was affirming, after a secret two-year review, its ban on gay members. The decision elicited widespread criticism and raised questions about whether the world’s largest youth organization was out of step with the times – and its own principles.

Everyone from scout leaders to legal analysts pointed to the cultural currents moving toward more inclusion of gays in US society, from President Obama’s announcement that he now personally supports gay marriage, to the end of the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, to the Episcopal church’s decision to bless same-sex unions.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is on the wrong side of history on this issue and will “wither away” if it sticks to this policy, says David Cohen, professor at the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Pointing to the 2000 Supreme Court decision that upheld the private group’s right to choose its members, he adds via e-mail, “just because the Supreme Court has said the Boy Scouts are allowed to have this policy does not mean that it is just or that it is consistent with basic human compassion.”

In its statement announcing the decision to continue the ban on both gay scouts and leaders, the Texas-based Boy Scouts of America (BSA) cited support from parents and said the decision was the result of a two-year review by a panel that represented “a diversity of perspectives and opinions."

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