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Boy Scouts to vote on lifting ban of gay members

The Boy Scouts of America will vote this week whether to allow gay members. The upcoming decision is causing a great debate nationally and locally.
The Boy Scouts of America will vote this week whether to allow gay members. The upcoming decision is causing a great debate nationally and locally.

The Boys Scouts have been around for more than 100 years. If the executive board votes Wednesday to allow gay members, it will be a first.

"I think it's fine because it's a part of life and it's a reality of life," said Barbara Jones about the possibility the Boy Scouts will welcome gay scouts and scout leaders. "I think it's so important for our children to understand and value each individual as they are."

While Jones doesn't have a problem with gay scouts, other do - like one man who spoke with abc24.com, but didn't want to be identified.

"They ought to get their own little club, maybe the gay folks club or something. They used to have them when I was growing up. We didn't go around them," he said. "Gay boys like other little boys so there you go. I believe that will happen, not to all of them but some of them."

Will Batts is the Executive Director of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. He says it's about time the Boy Scouts got with the times because having gays among their ranks is nothing new.

"There have always been gay scouts. I was a gay scout. Obviously I wasn't out at 11 but was starting to realize things about myself and didn't feel comfortable in scouting at that time," Batts said. "Diversity is spreading across the country; people are feeling more comfortable being exactly who they are and that's what America is about."

Woody Woodward, head of local Boys Scouts chapter The Chickasaw Council, says whatever decision the national board makes, "we will abide by the policies as determined by our national organization."

President Obama has also weighed in on the issue, saying gays should be allowed.

What do you think of this issue? We want you to sound off in our "Rants and Raves" segment. Kevin Kelly will bring us your responses Tuesday during Fox16 Good Day starting at 7 a.m. You can post your thoughts on the Fox16 Facebook Page.

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