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No-gay scout policy debated as petitions for change delivered

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IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – Just as leaders with the Boy Scouts of America sit down for meetings in Irving, to discuss removing the national membership restriction on sexual orientation, gay scouts and leaders will deliver signed petitions supporting an end to the ban.

The National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America are considering whether or not to allow local Scout councils to determine for themselves if gay Scouts and gay leaders should be allowed in their groups.

Last summer Jen Tyrrell, a mother from Ohio, and former local Cub Scout den mother, delivered some 300,000 signatures attached to a petition campaign, calling for her reinstatement, and an end to BSA no-gays policy.

On Monday, Tyrrell and three other adults with ties to the Scouts will deliver 1.4 million signatures, gathered on Change.org petitions, to Boy Scouts national headquarters. All of the petition signatures urge the end of a national anti-gay policy.

"While an end to the ban will strengthen scouting and stop the harm it caused to so many young gay people, the campaign for change will continue until the national policy is one where every young gay person is allowed to participate," Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Herndon Graddick said in a press release statement.

Over the weekend Governor Rick Perry, a former Eagle Scout, addressed hundreds of Scouts in the state House of Representatives in Austin where he spoke against softening the no-gays membership policy. "I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I," he said.

Those who support lifting the ban however say a Scout's sexual orientation shouldn't be the measure of their dedication the organization.

If the nation wide ban were lifted it would leave it up to individual scout groups to determine if they want to follow suit.

If the nation wide ban were lifted it would leave it up to individual scout groups to determine if they want to allow gay scouts or scoutmasters in. Scout officials say that would leave members and parents able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.

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