Boy Scouts’ decision on gays tests loyalty of members

by
June 10, 2013

For Dennis Ebersole, the fallout from the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to change a century of policy and allow openly gay Scouts to participate wasn’t long in coming.

“Within 12 hours of the announcement that the membership standards resolution had passed, I was contacted by five other members in my pack leadership committee, questioning whether they were going to continue Scouting,” said Mr. Ebersole, a den leader with Cub Scout Pack 282 in South Riding, Va.

The reaction was equally quick for Gary Hiden, an assistant scoutmaster of Troop 268 in New Market, Md., who has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America his whole life. He was a Boy Scout, and his mother served as a den mother and his father as a scoutmaster. Now, both his sons are Scouts. But the family plans to quit the Boy Scouts once the new policy takes effect Jan. 1.

“I’m very sad, because it’s a part of me and a part of my family. We have so much invested in Boy Scouting,” Mr. Hiden said. “But we don’t believe that the new policy is consistent with our beliefs.”

Mr. Hiden’s troop is chartered by a Lutheran church, and he identifies himself as a Christian. He said his elder son, who is 15, is just shy of becoming an Eagle. “Hopefully, he’ll be able to be an Eagle Scout by Jan. 1,” he said — before the policy comes into force.

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