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Local scout leaders say decision on gay leadership finds ‘common ground’

FILE - Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts prepare to lead marchers while waving rainbow-colored flags at the 41st annual Pride Parade in Seattle. On Monday, July 27, 2015, the Texas-based Boy Scouts of America ended its blanket ban on gay adult leaders but will allow church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion for religious reasons.
FILE - Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts prepare to lead marchers while waving rainbow-colored flags at the 41st annual Pride Parade in Seattle. On Monday, July 27, 2015, the Texas-based Boy Scouts of America ended its blanket ban on gay adult leaders but will allow church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion for religious reasons. AP

Charlotte-area Boy Scout leaders on Tuesday praised the decision to lift a nationwide ban on gay adult leadership, saying it found a middle ground that protects the rights of all parties.

Some religious leaders, however, denounced the decision, saying it fails to protect America’s youth.

Members of the gay community welcomed the decision they see as a long time coming.

The Boy Scouts of America on Monday voted to end its nationwide ban on gay leadership, but will leave the leadership decisions to local religious organizations, which charter scout groups.

“This seems to be a good common ground for us...no matter what side of the issue you’re on,” Mark Turner, executive director of the Mecklenburg County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, said.

Turner said it allows religious organizations and parents to choose scout leaders whose beliefs match their own.

Other scout leaders across the Carolinas echoed Turner’s remarks. Among them were Connie Bowes of the Piedmont Council and Brandon Brown of the Central North Carolina Council in Cabarrus County.

Richard Land of Charlotte’s Southern Evangelical Seminary said the Boy Scouts’ decision shows just how much political correctness has “unhinged good judgment.”

Land said the decision “defies common sense and what we know about human nature,” arguing that straight men aren’t allowed to be Girl Scout leaders because of the possibility of inappropriate relations between scout leaders and the girls. That same logic, he said, should be applied to the Boy Scouts. Land added, however, that he wasn’t suggesting that gays were more likely to act in an inappropriate manner than heterosexuals.

Chris Sgro, executive director of Equality NC, said his organization is pleased that the Boy Scouts of America has acknowledged that members of the gay community can provide leadership.

He said he expects there will be many new leaders throughout the country.

“People have been waiting for this,” Sgro said.

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