Local Scouting Group Pushes for Change in Policy on Gay Scout Leaders

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From Seattle to Central Ohio, the controversy over gays and scouting continues, in spite of a policy change by the Boy Scouts of America earlier this year.

The Scouts have shut down a troop in Seattle that refused to part ways with a gay scout leader, and now local scouts are organizing for the cause.

Boy Scouts of America changed their policy as of January to allow gay youth. But BSA still bans gay adults from serving as scout leaders.

Members of a group called Scouts for Equality say such exclusion goes against the very values the Scouts taught them.

Hunter Faulhaber joined scouting as a young boy seeking someplace to belong.

"I just wanted help with who I was at school, so I was accepted. And it didn't really work out in my favor, but I stuck with it,” he said.

He stuck with it all the way to the top honor in scouting- the rank of Eagle.

But there was a problem: Hunter is openly gay.

"I decided that I wasn't going to Eagle anymore,” he said. “That even though I had put in all this hard work, I wasn't going to represent an organization that didn't accept people like me."
He changed his mind when the Boy Scouts lifted its ban on gay youth in January. This spring he proudly earned the rank of Eagle.

But he also turned 18.

"Once you turn 18 you can still participate in scouting events, but you have to be an adult leader, a supervisor,” said Faulhaber. “And that's where the conflict comes in because you're not allowed to be openly gay and be an adult leader."

"He earned scouting's highest honor, and then became unfit to be in scouting anymore," said Brian Peffly.

Peffly is also an Eagle Scout.

"I still look at it as one of the best achievements in my life," he said.

He too is openly gay, and the head of the Simon Kenton Scouts for Equality.

"Our main goal is to end discrimination against LGBT adults in Boy Scouts of America,” said Peffly. “We don't see ourselves as an enemy or a hindrance. We see ourselves as a partner."

"We're people. We're humans. We have feelings,” said Faulhaber. “We want to do the right thing. And that's why we're in Scouts, to do the right thing."

Peffly calls denying young scouts the leadership of men like Hunter a "self-inflicted wound."

"We all love scouting. We want scouting to do the right thing. And we want scouting to exist for another hundred years. And we believe the only way they're going to do that is if they change their discriminatory policies."

The Simon Kenton Council of Boy Scouts for America says only two percent of scouts achieve the rank of Eagle.

A spokesperson declined comment for our story.