- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2013

The Boy Scouts of America is actively considering removing its decades-long ban on openly gay members and Scout leaders, NBC reports.

The new policy would eliminate the rule from the national organization, leaving local sponsoring organizations the freedom to admit gay Scouts at will.

“The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ national organization, said Monday.

Sponsors and parents “would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families,” he added.

If approved, the policy could be announced as soon as next week, just seven months after the Boy Scouts affirmed its policy of banning gay members. In a statement last July, its national executive board called it “the best policy for the organization.”

But a Scouting official told NBC News that the move to lift the ban was urged by many local sponsors.

“We’re a grass-roots organization. This is a response to what’s happening at the local level,” the official said.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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