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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 12, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 41
Cubs in revolt
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Cubs in revolt

MA Cub Scout pack rejects BSA's anti-Gay policy

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A Cub Scout pack in Beverly, Massachusetts, has publicly broken with the Boy Scouts of America policy against Gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

'We have been and will always be open and affirming, and will never turn our backs on a child or adult that seeks to embrace the core values found at the heart of Scouting,' Pack 4 Cubmaster Tony Gangi said.

Pack 4, which has about 45 boys in first through fifth grade, issued a statement October 11 extending membership 'to all families in our community.' The pack meets at the Second Congregational Church in North Beverly.

The pack's leadership committee, made up of 11 parents of Cub Scouts, voted unanimously to reject BSA's anti-Gay policy after the national organization reaffirmed its position in July.

The committee then issued its own 'statement of inclusion,' saying the benefits of Scouting 'should be available to all children and their families, regardless of their sexual orientation.'

'It kind of started when one of the committee members said, 'If they were excluding African-Americans, we wouldn't be part of this organization or we would take a stand,' Gangi said. 'That statement made us want to take a stand.'

A 'REAL-WORLD' LESSON
Gangi said the parents knew that by making a public statement, they risked being kicked out of the BSA or having the pack's charter revoked.

'You don't want to pull that away from your son. It gets very personal,' Gangi said.

'But it taught our sons a very valuable lesson. Rarely do you have the chance to teach your children a lesson like this. It's always taught in hypotheticals. This is happening in the real world, in real time.'

Gangi said the committee's decision to speak out was not prompted by a specific case involving Pack 4.

Rather, he said, he has friends who are Gay, and 'I want to be able to look them in the face and look at myself in the mirror in the morning.'

BSA OFFICIALS SILENT
The Marblehead, Massachusetts, Cub Scout Pack 79 issued a similar statement in August.

Matthew Lloyd, one of the leaders of Pack 79, told the Salem News that the group has not heard from higher-level BSA officials since it issued a statement in August against the national body's 'policy of discrimination.'

'We've had nothing but extremely positive remarks from the community within Marblehead,' Lloyd said. 'People have been very supportive of our stance and the fact that we are willing and eager to open the ranks for Scouting to all those that should be involved.'

Lloyd and his two brothers are Eagle Scouts, and his 10-year-old son is a member of Pack 79. Scouting has been an important part of his life, he says, but a growing number of packs are speaking out against the national policy.

'We're hopeful that the Boy Scouts of America will recognize the significance of what they're doing and be supportive of our desire to conduct our own actions on a local scale,' he said.

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