NEW YORK The Boys Scouts of America is considering a dramatic retreat from its controversial policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members.
Under the change now being discussed, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue either maintaining an exclusion of gays or opening up their membership.
Monday's announcement of the possible change comes after years of protests over the policy including petition campaigns that have prompted some corporations to suspend donations to the Boy Scouts.
Under the proposed change, said BSA spokesman Deron Smith, "the Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents."
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