Boy Scouts considers allowing gay members

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - Lifting the ban that excludes gays from serving as Boy Scout Masters or members is a decision that continues to draw both praise and criticism.

On one side, there are those who welcome change.

"I think it's great. The world has changed a lot and I think it's time for people to be accepted as they are," said Carmen Cavazos, a parent.

On the other side, there is disappointment from some outspoken religious leaders.

"We want to be respectful of everyone, but we also want respect for us, respect for those who hold what might be called a biblical form of morality," said Dr. Frank Page of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Southern Baptist leaders warn they might encourage Southern Baptist Churches to support other boys' organizations. Southern Baptists are among the largest sponsors of scout units, like the troop that meets weekly at the Church at the Cross in Southwest Houston.

"We welcome homosexuals in our church. We have several homosexuals in our church," said Pastor Johnny Teague.

Teague has been a Southern Baptist Pastor for the past 14 years. Teague said he doesn't condone homosexuality and said having gays serve as scout masters goes against his religious beliefs, however, he would support and accept scouts who are gay and stand with the scouts' principles.

"Scouts exist to make people better, to make them better men as they grow up. They have a great record," Teague said.

Some said the potential shift in policy doesn't go far enough.

"The Boy Scouts have to make sure they're teaching America and they're in step with American values of equality and not discriminating," said former scout leader James Dale.

The Boy Scouts board meets next week in Texas. If approved, the new policy would go into effect June 1.

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