IRVING, Texas — The Boy Scouts of America's national executive board began three days of closed meetings Monday that are expected to include a discussion of its policy excluding gay members and leaders, and Scouts on both sides of the debate are publicly weighing in.
The meetings are getting far more attention since the organization announced last week it would consider allowing individual troops to decide whether to allow gay membership. Police and security guards kept watch at the suburban Dallas hotel where the meetings are being held, and reporters were barred from talking to board members.
Several current and former Scouts, leaders and their supporters rallied outside the organization's nearby national headquarters in Irving, armed with four boxes of what they said were 1.4 million signatures on a petition opposing the Scouts' current policy. Jennifer Tyrrell, who was removed as a den leader of her son's pack in Ohio because she is a lesbian, called the exclusion policy "archaic."
But in Utah, Boy Scout leaders issued a letter asking the board to take more time before making "a decision which cannot be undone." The Great Salt Lake Council didn't specify whether it opposed a policy change, but said it had the support of 32 other scouting groups, which it didn't identify but said 23 were in the West and the rest were scattered around the country.
"Adages about 'measuring twice and cutting once' exist for a reason," the council's letter read. "There is no compelling reason to accelerate this decision ahead of a full analysis."