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Apr 22, 2013 9:19 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Tucsonans react to possible change in Boy Scouts ban on gays

TUCSON - As the Boy Scouts of America considers the possibility of changing their membership standards for joining the organization, specifically for openly gay youth, some Tucsonans argue it doesn't go far enough.

In January the Boy Scouts wanted to leave it up to local troops to determine whether to accept gay scouts or gay troop leaders. Now they are considering a proposal to allow gay scouts while keeping the current ban on gay leaders in place.

Carol Grimsby is an advocate for the LGBT community in Southern Arizona and director of the community group Wingspan. She embraces the possibility of the Boy Scouts opening up their doors to gay scout members.

"If they're going in a direction that's open and inclusive that's great, but I don't really see that. I see it as a half-way measure right now," Grimbsy said.

A half-way measure Grimsby is critical of as the proposed resolution keeps the ban on openly gay adults in place.

"I think the Boy Scouts are finitely discriminating against the LGBT community," Grimbsy said, adding: "It's very damaging for young gay children to be thought of as less and that their parents or their role models to be thought of as unable to be role models in scouting."

Here in Southern Arizona, Ken Tucker, the Scout Executive for the Catalina Council said the national proposal was intended to avoid depriving kids of the opportunity to become a scout.

"Honestly I don't think it changes too much. We don't ask people right now what their sexual orientation is right now," Tucker told News 4 Tucson.

Admitting that this is a difficult issue for Boy Scouts to deal with, Tucker said he's never seen anything like this.

"It's going to be interesting to watch. Scouting is evolving. You know there was a time when women couldn't be scout masters and that changed 20 years ago," Tucker said.

A national meeting for the Boy Scouts of America is scheduled for the week of May 20th to make a decision on this, where three representatives from Southern Arizona will cast their votes on the resolution.

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