Norwalk, Conn., approves use of park by Boy Scouts

The Norwalk, Conn., common council has approved the use of a city park for a public event by a local troop of the Boy Scouts of America despite some concerns about the organization's ban on gays. The council on Tuesday night gave a permit to the organization to hold an outing at Shady Beach.

Councilmen Kenneth Baker and Peter Wien touched off the debate two weeks ago when the council's parks committee reviewed the Boy Scouts' permit application to use the park for a three-hour campfire and recruitment program. Wien and Baker opposed issuing Scoutmaster Greta DeAngelis a
permit because of a national Boy Scout policy barring gays from membership and leadership positions.

But other council members, Mayor Alex Knopp, and some public speakers said the city could not deny the local group its First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly.

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