Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay boys as Scouts
6:16 PM, May 23, 2013
4:47 AM, May 24, 2013
A change in underway among the ranks of Boy Scouts of America as 1,400 members of the council voted 60% in favor of lifting a ban on openly gay scouts.
The change in policy comes after the ban sat in place for more than 20 years.
It was an announcement former Boy Scout Tony Plakas has waiting decades to hear.
"I mean you can't have an open debate about something for more than 20 years without this being a historic moment," said Plakas.
Plakas is openly gay and now works for Compass Gay and Lesbian Community Center in Lake Worth. He said is relieved to hear 60% percent of the 1,400 delegates at the Boy Scouts Leadership Council in Grapevine, Texas voted to lift the 22-year-old ban on gay scouts.
"I can't say that I was gay when I was in scouts. I don't think I was even thinking about it. We were learning to tie knots and canoe," said Plakas.
According to a Boy Scouts of America parents survey, 48% of parents supported the ban, down from the 57% percent who did three years ago. But among scouts themselves, 56% opposed the ban and 42% opposed the ban strongly.
Frank Russo, a former scout who lives in Delray Beach, does not like the ruling.
"I'm not sure it'll, be the same. I'm not sure I'd send my son through the Boy Scouts, especially camps," said Russo.
Beth Eversole of Palm Beach Gardens supports lifting the ban.
"We are now in 2013, so it's about time," said Eversole.
Advocates of gay rights said on Thursday lifting the ban is not a complete victory. Gay scouts will be accepted beginning at the start of 2014, but the ban on gay scout leaders remains in place.
"We are seeing the being of the end of a ban period," said Plakas.
Repeated calls and emails to the Boy Scouts of America Gulf Stream Council, which covers the Palm Beaches and the Treasure Coast, were not returned for comment on the development.