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Boy Scouts Survey Volunteers, Workers on Gay Ban

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America is surveying its volunteers and employees across the U.S. on the question of allowing gays in Scouting.

The Scouts have publicly pledged to ban gays from the organization. But behind the scenes, the Scouts privately convened a committee to determine whether the ban should be modified or lifted.

The ban was reaffirmed last year. But that could change in May, when a resolution will be put forward to the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America to decide whether to keep, modify or rescind the gay ban.

A survey emailed to 1.1 million adult Scouts poses five theoretical situations that could arise if the ban were lifted. Among them are a troop voting in a lesbian den leader, or a gay youth minister serving as Scoutmaster.

Respondents are asked to rate their feelings from strong support to strong opposition.

Here are some of the questions distributed to 1.1 million adult Scouts:

— Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age. At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?

— What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting?

— David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?

— A gay male troop leader, along with another adult leader, is taking a group of boys on a camping trip following the youth protection guidelines of two-deep leadership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?

— If the Boy Scouts of America makes a decision on this policy that disagrees with your own view, will you continue to participate in the Boy Scouts, or will you leave the organization?

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