'Boy Scouts' vote on no-gays policy pushed back, local leader reacts

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A local Boy Scouts leader is reacting to The Boy Scouts of America's decision to put off a vote on its longstanding no-gays policy.

The Boy Scouts of America's executive board was expected to vote Wednesday on a proposal to let local groups decide whether to admit openly homosexual scouts and troop leaders. But they announced they have pushed the vote off until the organization's annual meeting in May.

Ray Franks, scout executive and COO for the East Carolina Council, a Boy Scouts group based in Kinston, said delaying the vote was the right decision.

"At the May National Council Meeting, we have four council volunteers with voting rights out of the possible 1,400 volunteers that are voting members of the National Council," Franks said.  "A decision of this magnitude is best decided by the voting members from all 280 councils in the United States."

Franks said that the Boy Scouts of America's policies on homosexuals have resulted in a loss of funding. The East Carolina Council has lost $30,000 - $50,000 in the past year.

The number of local Boy Scout councils have decreased from about 325 to 280 in the past five years, as a result of mergers of councils that no longer had enough support to keep up their operations, Franks said. East Carolina Council has three less staff members than the same time last year.

"Those wanting to keep the policy [on homosexuals] the same will have to step up and financially support local councils throughout the country," Franks said.

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