Decision on gay scouts draws criticism from PA groups

Written by Marie Cusick | May 24, 2013 1:35 PM
Rainbow flag, gay rights

(Harrisburg) -- After facing mounting pressure from gay rights groups and corporate sponsors, the Boy Scouts of America has voted to end its ban on openly gay scouts.

But the organization has also faced opposition from religious groups who sponsor the majority of troops across the country, and the Scouts will keep a ban in place for gay leaders.

Groups on both sides of the issue in Pennsylvania say the compromise is a disappointment.

Tom Shaheen is with the conservative Pennsylvania Family Institute.

He says the Boy Scouts caved to political and economic pressure.

"I think that has no place in a private organization that sets up its own rules and has been consistent with those rules for over 100 years," Shaheen says.

Ted Martin heads Equality Pennsylvania, a gay rights advocacy group.

"We're happy that they've gone this far, but I think, as a compromise, it's pretty average, a pretty mediocre compromise," Martin says.

The ban on openly gay scouts will be officially lifted January 1.

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