Boy Scouts Are Poised to End Ban on Gay Leaders

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The Boy Scouts of America is expected on Monday to end its blanket ban on gay leaders — a turning point for an organization that has been in turmoil over the issue.

But some scouting groups will still be able to limit leadership jobs to heterosexuals.

To gain the acquiescence of conservative religious groups that sponsor many packs and troops, like the Mormon and Roman Catholic Churches, the policy will allow church-run units to pick leaders who agree with their moral precepts.

“There are differences of opinion, and we need to be respectful of them,” said Michael Harrison, a businessman who led the Boy Scouts in Orange County, Calif., and lobbied internally for change. “It doesn’t mean the Mormons have to pick a gay scoutmaster, but please don’t tell the Unitarians they can’t.”

The proposal followed a public warning in May by Robert M. Gates, the Scouts’ volunteer two-year president and a former defense secretary, that the ban on gay adults “cannot be sustained.” The national governing board, which includes scores of corporate, civic and church leaders who share a devotion to scouting, is expected to overwhelmingly support for the resolution in a meeting to be conducted Monday by telephone.


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