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Scouts, leaders deliver petition on no-gay policy

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm •  Published: February 4, 2013
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At the BSA's headquarters in Irving, a security guard took the petitions inside about 90 minutes after the activists arrived, and BSA spokesman Deron Smith later issued a statement saying the group works "to treat everyone with courtesy."

"The BSA has received a great deal of feedback from a variety of viewpoints and we appreciate everyone sharing their perspective on this issue," he said.

National groups on both sides of the debate have sent emails to supporters and announced they were buying newspaper ads to draw attention to the issue. Even President Barack Obama has weighed in, telling CBS Sunday that the Scouts are a "great institution" that should allow everyone to join.

"My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life," said Obama, who as the U.S. president is the honorary president of BSA.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, an Eagle Scout who has written a book about Scouting, said Saturday that he opposed a change to what he saw as Scouting's century-old values.

"I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I," Perry said.

Two high-powered board members — Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T Inc. CEO Randall Stephenson — have said they would work from within the organization to change the membership policy, which stood in contrast to their own companies' non-discrimination policies.

Others on the board declined to comment or did not return messages seeking comment last week.

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Associated Press writer Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City, Utah, contributed to this report.

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Follow Nomaan Merchant on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nomaanmerchant.