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Local

Church leader welcomes Boy Scouts decision to allow gay members

Episcopal church rector applauds organization’s vote to lift ban on openly gay youth

The Rev. Bill Nesbit Jr., rector of the St. Charles Episcopal Church, said he is pleased that the Boy Scouts of America on Thursday voted to end its ban on openly gay youth.

“I think the society we live in is moving toward a broader understanding that homosexual behavior is not de facto immoral,” Nesbit said.

Troop 25, of the Three Fire Council’s Fox Valley District, meets at the church in St. Charles.

The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday announced a policy change that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. It will allow the Boy Scouts to allow gay members, but it will not allow gay Scout leaders.

Nesbit was disappointed that the ban on gay adult leaders will remain in place.

“My gut feeling is that in the next few years they will probably take that next step,” he said. “I think the Boy Scouts do a pretty good job of educating volunteers about appropriate behavior.”

Leaders from other area churches where Boy Scout troops meet did not return calls for comment.

Charles Dobbins, Scout executive and CEO at the Boy Scouts of America, Chicago Area Council, said the change will allow more boys to get involved in Scouting.

“As leaders of Scouting in Chicagoland, we believe this update to our policy will allow all kids who sincerely want to be a part of Scouting to experience this life-changing program while remaining true to the long-standing virtues of Scouting,” Dobbins said in a statement.

“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting. We believe good people can disagree and still work together to accomplish great things for youth. Going forward, we will work to stay focused on that which unites us.”

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