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Boy Scout Group Drops Gay-Inclusive Non-Discrimination Pledge After Threats

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BOY SCOUTS
AP

A Maryland-based Cub Scout pack has backed down on its non-discriminatory pledge toward gay participants after pressure from its regional council.

As Mother Jones reported, Pack 442 of Cloverly, Md. had "anonymously voted and overwhelmingly approved" to adopt a non-discrimination statement, which declared that the group would not discriminate "against any individual or family based on race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation."

By Jan. 26, however, Pack 442 officials had posted the following message on the group's website:

"Due to pressure from the National Capital Area Council, Pack 442 is being forced to remove its Non-Discrimination statement posted below in order to keep our Charter (up at end of Jan). Please feel free to send feedback to the following NCAC Leaders at 301-530-9360: Sarah Pelter, Director of Field Services; Les Baron, Scout Executive."

Last week, Baron revealed to Mother Jones that Pack 442 had been told they "will not be recognized as an organization" unless they erased the reference to sexual orientation in their non-discrimination statement.

"The policy of the Boy Scouts are what they are and my job is to not bring into [it] my own personal feelings, and all I am trying to do is maintain the quality and integrity of the Boy Scouts of America and its policies,” Baron told NBC.

Pack 422 had also posted an online poll asking families to vote on whether or not to maintain the non-discrimination policy.

Among those to condemn the NCAC's threats was Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Herndon Graddick.

"To think that the Boy Scouts would rather cast out elementary school children than accept a parent-approved policy allowing gay children and parents to participate is just unconscionable," Graddick said in a statement. "This despicable act of bullying and intimidation is yet another reminder that the BSA is out of touch with its members and the American public at large.”

Last year, the Boy Scouts of America "emphatically reaffirmed" its policy of excluding gays as both leaders and Scouts, according to the Associated Press.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," the Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuci, told the AP. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

The BSA's anti-gay policy had been in the headlines frequently in recent months following the case of Jennifer Tyrrell, who was forced to resign as leader of her 7-year-old son's Tiger Scout den after revealing she is a lesbian.

CLARIFICATION: This article has been amended to specify that Pack 422 is a Cub Scout pack.

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