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Local News

October 11, 2012

Scout pack denounces anti-gay policy

Beverly group issues statement welcoming all families

BEVERLY — A Beverly Cub Scout pack has publicly rejected the Boy Scouts of America policy that prohibits homosexuals and has issued a statement extending membership “to all families in our community.”

“We have been and will always be open and affirming, and will never turn our backs on a child or adult that seeks to embrace the core values found at the heart of Scouting,” Pack 4 Cubmaster Tony Gangi said.

The Beverly pack is at least the second Boy Scout organization on the North Shore to publicly oppose the national organization’s policy banning openly gay members or volunteers. Marblehead Cub Scout Pack 79 issued a similar statement in August.

Gangi said the pack’s adult leaders decided to take a stand after the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its long-standing policy banning gays in July.

The pack’s committee, which has 11 members, voted unanimously to reject the policy last month. This week, the committee issued its own “statement of inclusion,” saying the benefits of Scouting “should be available to all children and their families, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

The committee members are all volunteers and parents of Cub Scout Pack 4 members, Gangi said.

“It kind of started when one of the committee members said, ‘If they were excluding African-Americans, we wouldn’t be part of this organization or we would take a stand,’” Gangi said. “That statement made us want to take a stand.”

Gangi said the parents knew that, by making a public statement, they were risking getting kicked out of Boy Scouts or having the pack’s charter revoked by the national organization.

“You don’t want to pull that away from your son. It gets very personal,” Gangi said. “But it taught our sons a very valuable lesson. Rarely do you have the chance to teach your children a lesson like this. It’s always taught in hypotheticals. This is happening in the real world, in real time.”

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