Local man says Boy Scouts' ban on gays needs to end
ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -
One man, expelled from the Boy Scouts for being gay, reacts to news the group is considering repealing the ban on homosexuals.
For decades, the Scouts kept gays and lesbian Scouts and troop leaders from being in the organization - but the Scouts may be changing its mind about the ban.
While it's too early to tell what changes could be coming locally, ex-Scout Kenneth Hosley, who was kicked out of the Atlanta chapter, says it's time for the Scouts to end its ban.
For nearly 20 years, Hosley was a Boy Scout, and then an Eagle Scout. He even served as a chaplain with the Atlanta Area Council. But he couldn't hide his identity any longer - and wrote a letter to the local council, coming out as gay.
"It's easy to kick them out and treat them as inhuman," said Hosley. "If you actually have to look someone in the eye and say 'That's the person I'm condemning, that's the person I'm hurting and saying they're not like me,' then you have to hold yourself accountable."
Hosley was kicked out of the Scouts in 2005.
This Monday the Scouts announced a possible reversal from the national board. The 100-year-old organization might change its mind on the long-held ban on gays.
Deron Smith, the director of public relations for the Scouts, released a statement, stating:
"The Boy Scouts of America is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation," said Smith.
The spokesperson for the Atlanta Area Council, Jeff Fulcher, wouldn't go on camera, but he did send CBS Atlanta News a statement, stating:
"The Atlanta Area Council will continue to deliver a high-quality scouting program to as many youth in Atlanta as possible," said Fulcher.
Hosley hopes the organization will finally lift the ban, a ban he says flies in the face of the Scouts' core beliefs.
"It does not support the bravery that some Scouts have for being who they are. It forces them to hide because of the abusive, manipulative behavior we have within the organization," said Hosley.
In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts of America's right to exclude gay members because it is a private organization.
CBS Atlanta News was told the national board could hear the policy change as early as next week.
Even if the ban is lifted, it would be up to local chapters to decide if gays members would be allowed to join.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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