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Boy Scouts of America may openly allow gays

By Bianca Rae, KESQ News Channel 3 Reporter, brae@kesq.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:03:41 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 28 2013 10:45:00 PM CST
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -


"When I was a young boy, I always wanted to join the Boy Scouts myself, and I wasn't able to join for a variety of reasons, family reasons. Now looking back, I'm glad I wasn't a part of it," Gary Costa said. 

For the last 103 years, since its inception, the Boy Scouts of America excluded gays as leaders and youth members.

Gary Costa, the interim executive director of The Center for the LGBT community, said that sends the wrong message to youth.

"It's a horrible statement to make, that they will only allow certain boys, boys who identify as being heterosexual or boys who come from traditional families where they're parents are not gay," Costa said.

Costa said he's been looking at the numbers.

"Since 1973, 43 percent of their membership is down. They used to have 4.8 million members, but now they're down to 2.8 million scouts," Costa said.

He thinks poor numbers give the BSA a good reason to change.

"I think its great, although I think it's financially based. A lot of it has to do with funding. We know for a fact that a lot of their corporate donors have withdrawn funding in the past two years as a result of discriminatory policies," Costa said.

Motive or not -- Costa said the bottom line is a change could mean more of the Coachella Valley youth getting the right message.

"It says that whether you're gay, your parents are gay, or anyone you love is gay, you're alright. You're normal, you're part of the system.You're part of this world and there is nothing wrong with you," Costa said.

A Boy Scouts of America spokesperson said it "would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents."

The different religious and civic groups that sponsor scout units would be able to decide for themselves whether they want to lift the ban or not.

The organization says the BSA could announce its decision on the matter as early as next week.