- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 24, 2014

The new leader of the Boy Scouts of America said Friday that he would allow gay adults as Scout leaders, but would not re-open talks on the issue he says “left us divided, distracted and defensive,” NBC News reported Friday.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates was confirmed as the organization’s new President on Thursday at its national meeting in Nashville.

Mr. Gates has been appointed to lead the BSA only a year after the group made the decision to allow young gay scouts to join, but not adults.

However, Mr. Gates said he was prepared to make a radical change in the BSA’s new policy but that he would respect his colleagues’ decision.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Mr. Gates said, “I would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers (on the National Council) from across the entire country,” NBC News reported.

He went on to say that re-opening the books on the issue would only serve to create a permanent rift in the organization that would hurt Scouts.

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“Given the strong feelings — the passion — involved on both sides of this matter, I believe strongly that to re-open the membership issue or try to take last year’s decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement — with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own.

“… And who would pay the price for destroying the Boy Scouts of America? Millions of Scouts today and Scouts yet unborn. … Thus, during my time as president, I will oppose any effort to re-open the issue.”

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