GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 19, 2012

Rockport Cubs reject Scouts' anti-gay stand

Leaders of the Rockport Cub Scouts have taken a stand against a national Boy Scouts of America policy that prohibits homosexuals from participating as Scouts or as adult volunteers with Scout troops.

Rockport Pack 55 Cub Scout’s den leaders and council members said in a prepared statement that they “vehemently disagree” with Boy Scouts of America’s July decision to formally reaffirm that the national group has no plans to change its membership policy, which “does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members,” but “does not grant membership who are open or avowed homosexuals.”

Rockport Cub Master Lizabeth Finer said Thursday that the Rockport council members voted unanimously Tuesday to reject the national Boy Scout policy, joining two other North Shore scouting groups — in Beverly and Marblehead — in denouncing the Boy Scouts of America position.

“The benefits of Scouting should be available to all children and their families, regardless of sexual orientation,” the Rockport group wrote in a statement.

Finer called the Boy Scouts’ don’t-ask, don’t-tell style policy outdated.

“It’s definitely behind the times,” Finer said Thursday. “The military, for goodness sake, doesn’t even have that policy anymore.”

Finer said that, while she’s not aware of the national policy creating any specific contentions in Rockport, it could be partly at fault for the low membership and registration numbers the pack has seen in recent years.

“People have said if the Boy Scouts are not allowing gays, we don’t want to be a part of it,” Finer said. “I’m assuming the reason why our registration is down is not because they have children who may be gay, but because they disagree with the policy. We wanted to let them know that we don’t agree with this just because we’re Scout leaders.”

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