By Jessica BerardinoBy Mike Pintek

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The Boy Scouts of America have officially voted to allow openly gay members to join their organization. But top officials are not ready to allow gay leaders. With this decision some of the conservative members are threatening to defect.

The vote was conducted by secret ballot during the National Council’s annual meeting. Roughly 1,400 members of council voted Thursday night, there 61 percent supported the proposal. The change will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

However, the decision was welcomed with open arms by liberal members of the Scouts and by gay-rights activists. Although, they did urge the change on allowing gay leaders. In an issued statement, the Scouts stress to everyone that they will not condone any type of sexual conduct by any scout.

Groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God and the Family Research Council are disappointed with the outcome. Senior Fellow, Peter Sprigg, at the Family Research Council joined KDKA Radio’s Mike Pintek to express his views on why this decision isn’t want he wanted.

“The appropriate libertarian attitude towards this issue would be to allow the Boy Scouts to organize membership standards like they’ve always had,” said Sprigg. “And anyone who doesn’t like them can form their own organization.”

He described how this is an odd situation where his group and the gay-rights groups agree together that this new policy is incoherent and irrational. The BSA, he says, is sending a “muddled message” about gay conduct.

“If homosexual conduct can be morally straight, then it calls into question why they’re continuing to exclude homosexuals as adult leaders,” said Sprigg. “If homosexual conduct is not morally straight then it makes no sense to welcome open homosexuals as scouts.”

Prior to the voting Thursday evening, Pintek spoke earlier in the day with Jim Shepard, the president of Steel City Stonewall Democrats, about why Shepard supported the eventual decision on allowing gay scouts into the BSA. Shepard is also a board member of the Delta Foundation and a former scout.

According to the official statement regarding why gay scouts shouldn’t be excluded: “No youth may be denied membership from the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

Shepard was raised in the scouts and feels that they gave him the best quality of life possible. He is gay and said he was gay while he was in the scouts and knows that if he would have come out while still involved that he would probably have been removed from the BSA.

“I don’t think my friends would have cared that I was gay,” said Shepard. “I made some of my best friends when I was in scouts and I’m still friends with them now and they’re very accepting of who I am, so that defiantly wouldn’t have been a problem.”

To him the scouts are a great organization that helps young men become upstanding citizens. And if an openly gay boy wants to participate in such an organization they shouldn’t be dis-allowed in.

Mike Pintek is live weekdays noon to 3 only on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA!

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