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Baltimore Area Boy Scouts Join Historic Vote Lifting Ban On Openly Gay Members

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The vote is historic–the Boy Scouts of America decides to allow gay members. The Baltimore area Boy Scouts Council joined those voting Thursday to lift the ban.

Pat Warren has reaction to the vote taken by the Boy Scouts National Council.

Gay scouts like 16-year-old Pascal Tessier no longer have to hide their sexual identity.

“I’m still going to be able to call myself a Boy Scout, I’m going to be able to get my Eagle. I’m going to be able to go home and tell everyone at home I can go on camping trips with them,” said Tessier.

Tessier not only wanted the ban on openly gay scouts lifted, he no longer hid the fact that he is gay from his scout leaders.

“Boy Scouts teaches you to be honest and be yourself and be brave and outspoken,” he said.

Those opposed to the change are also outspoken.

“This will be the last time I’m wearing this uniform publicly. The way I view it is that, I’m not leaving scouting, scouting has left us,” a troop leader said.

The national council left the ban on gay troop leaders in place, and Equality Maryland plans to address that next.

“Sometimes people just have to, you know, this was a big step by the national council and I think that the president of the Boy Scouts of America recognizes that the troop leader issue is next. But sometimes it’s one baby step at a time,” said Carrie Evans, Equality Maryland.

It may be too soon to tell what impact the new policy might have on membership and funding.

More than 60% of the council voted in favor of lifting the ban.

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