A Ban on Gay Scoutmasters May Become History

In Beverly Hills there is an 80-year-old building that, since 1934, has been known as "the scout house". Over the years, there have probably been 30-some scoutmasters and 700+ scouts in the house. But, there has also been one nationally polarizing issue of having gay scout leaders. The ban against that may be about to change.

In Atlanta, Former CIA Director and Defense Secretary Robert Gates stood at a podium Thursday. Now, he is the President of the Boy Scouts of America. When he began his two-year term he said he was going to try to stay away from the issue of gay scout leaders, but now circumstances are such that "We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might want it to be."

At the Beverly Hills "Scout House" Joel Ordesky says "I think it's overdue!" When Ordesky was seven he was a scout in the same building. He rose to Eagle Scout and now, at 50, is a scoutmaster. His son is even in Troop 33. Ordesky has been in a battle with his landlord over the future of the scout house. He's trying to save it. He's very passionate about that. He is equally passionate about the sexual orientation issue he has never liked.

Says Ordesky, "Regardless of how you personally feel the time has come to make a change."

We found others who felt the same way like Joe Armendaris who says "It's a good idea, but it should have been open like that a long time ago." 20-year-old Vanessa Hernandez says, "if someone's gay let them be gay. It's their life. Let them live their life."

Joel Ordesky says "Scouting is about teaching boys to be leaders. Teaching them skills and all the things they don't necessarily learn in school. Really sexuality does not come into it." In fact, in 1982, he recruited a gay scoutmaster for Troop 33. He says there were never any negative issues surrounding the hiring of the 24 year old.

For others, though, changing the BSA policy is problematic. Parent Jose Flores says "I think that would be like a bad example for other kids... "you know God made us like Adam and Eve you know what I mean. So, God didn't want girl and girl and boy and boy."

It's not clear when the Boy Scouts of America National Council might take a vote on the issue of gay scout leaders, but the mere fact that Robert Gates made the statement that change is needed, to some, was significant.

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