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Boy Scouts delay decision on gay membership, citing 'complexity'

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The backlash to a possible change on the no-gays policy came in large part from within the Scouting ranks. About 70 percent of local Scouting chapters are operated by faith-based groups, namely the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) with 38,000 chapters, followed by the United Methodists at 11,000 chapters and the Roman Catholic Church at 8,570. Some had warned that if the BSA lifted the national ban, the Boy Scouts would lose millions of dollars because most faith-based chapters would simply band with competing, but lesser-known, scouting organizations such as Navigators USA and the Baden-Powell Service Association.

Lifting the ban, they argue, would be an affront to religious liberty. Moreover, these critics say, allowing gay adults to become troop leaders would expose children to a lifestyle they see as illegitimate and may even raise the potential for sexual abuse. Going forward, they are expected to continue to press their case.

“There is no reason to change this policy because we shouldn’t be sexualizing children, and that’s what this is all about,” says Greg Quinlan, board president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), a Washington organization that advocates on behalf of what it calls the “ex-gay community.”

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