Wisconsin News

Boy Scouts delay vote on openly gay members

LA CROSSE, Wis. - A vote on whether to open up the Boy Scouts of America to openly gay scouts and scout leaders has been put off until May.

The organization's national board of directors decided Wednesday to delay a decision on whether to change it's policies, saying it needs more time to get input from scout members.

The national spotlight has been on the BSA this week ever since leadership announced a possible vote at it's board meeting. A spokesperson has said there will be a vote at the meeting coming up in May.

There's pressure from both sides on the polarizing issue. On Super Bowl Sunday, President Barack Obama told CBS Evening News Anchor Scott Pelley that he thinks the current policy is discriminatory.

"My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life," said President Obama.


The BSA's national board of directors decided Wednesday to delay a decision, giving no indication which way the organization may vote in the future. Much of the opposition to opening up the organization to gays is coming from troops chartered to religious organizations.

News 8 contacted leaders in Troop 11 in La Crosse, which is connected to the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.  Scout leaders in the troop declined our request for an interview because they have not even met specifically to discuss this issue.

Even if the Boy Scouts of America decides to lift the longstanding ban, whether to allow openly gay scouts and scout leaders may still be left up to each individual troop.

Eric Busse, an Eagle Scout who attends UW-La Crosse, told us last week he remains hopeful for change. Busse has not been able to participate in the organization since he came out as gay at the age of 18.

"I think the BSA, at its heart, will be on the right side of history and the side that stands for tolerance," said Busse.

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