Boy Scouts Debate Anti-Gay Policy

The organization reaffirmed its policy refusing gay members last year, following a two-year review of the rule

The Boy Scouts of America begin debating their anti-gay policy on Monday.

The new policy under discussion would be up to individual troops to allow gay members.

The Boy Scouts expect to announce a decision after this week's board meeting.

Several groups plan to rally near the national headquarters in Irving, Texas, both for and against a possible change in policy.

President Barack Obama weighed in on the matter in an interview that aired Sunday just before the Super Bowl, saying he wants the Boy Scouts to allow gays and lesbians to join.

The president called the Scouts "a great institution" that promotes young people and said "no one should be barred from that."

President Obama also called out the Scouts during last year's presidential campaign, saying he opposed the long-standing policy of excluding gays as members.

But Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaking Saturday to an annual gathering of Scouts from around Texas, discussed his own experiences in scouting and made it clear he's against changing the Scouts' controversial policy.

"Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons," Perry said. "Sexuality is not one of them. Never has been and doesn't need to be."

The Boy Scouts have previously reviewed their policy on not accepting gays as members. Last year, after a two-year review of the rule, the Scouts reaffirmed their longstanding policy as it has been a continual target of numerous protest campaigns.

In recent months, some corporate sponsors, including pharmaceutical giant Merck, had pulled funding from the organization due to the exclusionary rule.

James Turley, the chairman of Ernst & Young, and Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, vowed in 2012 to work together to change the Boy Scouts' policy after a den leader in Ohio was ousted from her position due to her sexual orientation.

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