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1.4M gay petitions delivered to Boy Scouts

Feb. 4, 2013 at 6:12 PM
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IRVING, Texas, Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Gay scouting advocates Monday delivered petitions signed by 1.4 million people to Texas where Boy Scouts leaders are considering lifting their ban on gays.

The Dallas Voice reported a representative from Boy Scouts of America had been scheduled to meet with the advocacy group in Irving during the morning, but when no one from the scouting organization showed up by 12:30 p.m. local time, the boxes of signatures were left at the base of a Scouting statue near the front door of BSA headquarters. The newspaper said a Boy Scouts representative came out later to retrieve the signatures after most members of the media had left.

Greg Bourke, an assistant Scoutmaster removed after serving for 10 years after revealing his sexual orientation, urged the BSA's board of directors to lift its ban gays.

"In the name of fairness, in the name of equality, in the name of God, I ask the executive board to please end this harmful discrimination now," he said.

The Dallas Morning News reported Will Oliver, a 20-year-old gay Eagle Scout from Duxbury, Mass., said the Scouts' anti-gay policy forces gay youths to hide who they really are.

"It is time for this archaic policy to end," he said.

The BSA board is meeting for three days. The organization said last week it would consider a proposal to allow local Scout councils to determine whether to accept gay Scouts and leaders.

During the weekend, President Obama said he believes the ban should be done away with, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry voiced his support for letting the Boy Scouts keep its anti-gay policy.

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