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Philly Boy Scouts to Allow Gay Adult Leaders and Employees

Philly Boy Scouts to Allow Gay Adult Leaders and Employees


The Cradle of Liberty Council has gotten out ahead of the national Boy Scouts by adopting a nondiscrimination policy.

One of the nation's largest Boy Scouts councils has announced it will accept openly gay adult leaders and employees, despite the national organization's still-standing ban.

Philadelphia's Cradle of Liberty Council made the announcement Friday, reports Philly newspaper The Inquirer. Its executive board approved the policy unanimously Friday morning.

"We are proud that our Council welcomes any person of good will desiring to assist in achieving our mission to advance the values of our Scout Oath and Scout Law, whether a youth member, adult member or employee," with "no membership or employment restrictions based on an individual's sexual orientation," said a statement issued by Jim Papada, the council's board president. The council represents 15,000 scouts in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.

The Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay youth members over a year ago but has continued to bar openly gay adults from the organization. However, Boy Scouts councils in Denver and New York have defied the ban on gay adults, and BSA president Robert Gates recently said the ban should come down "sooner rather than later."

The Cradle of Liberty Council hasn't always been so gay-friendly. It was engaged in a long legal dispute with the Philadelphia city government over its use of a city-owned building as its headquarters. Municipal leaders said that making the building available for nominal rent -- $1 a year -- to an organization that practiced antigay discrimination violated the city's antidiscrimination law. The council vacated the building in 2013, moving to the Philly suburb of Wayne.

The national group declined comment on the Cradle of Liberty's new policy, except to say there will likely be a decision on the gay ban "no later than the BSA's national executive board meeting in October," Reuters reports.

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