Boy Scouts send out survey about lifting ban on gays

Myrtle Beach, SC - The Boy Scouts of America is reaching out to its members to find out what they think about the possibility of lifting the group's ban on gays.

The National Council has put together a committee to determine whether the ban should be modified or lifted altogether.

James McIlrath has been involved in the Boy Scouts for most of his life. He was one of 1.1 million adult scouts who got this survey. He says while it will play a role in the national council's decision, a lot of other factors will as well.

"A lot of the people that got it feel very positive that at least they have been asked their opinions on certain things that weren't being considered in the initial discussions," said McIlrath.

The survey asks about nine theoretical situations that could arise if the ban on gays was lifted, like having a gay youth minister serving as Scoutmaster.

"It's an anonymous survey, so you really don't feel threatened by the questions," he explained.

Respondents are asked to rate their feelings from strong support to strong opposition.

"I feel strongly enough about the scouting program that regardless of which decision they're going to make, I'm going to have my kids in scouts and I'm going to encourage other parents to have their kids in scouts, because I just think it's that significant of an impact in their lives," McIlrath said.

If some people think his stance is pro-gays in scouting, McIlrath said, "At some point you have to agree to disagree and then you have to make your decision on what you think the value of the program is and what it can do for our youth."

McIlrath said he's just happy the Boy Scouts of America are no longer looking at the issue from a conceptual level and are asking tough questions of the people who make up the organization.

In May, a resolution will be put forward to the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America to decide whether to keep, modify or rescind the gay ban.

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