NEW YORK -- After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America has emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by critics.
The Scouts' national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press that an 11-member special committee, formed discreetly in 2010, concluded that the exclusion policy is "absolutely the best policy" for the organization.
Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion -- preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
As a result of the committee's decision, Smith said the Scouts' national executive board will take no further action on a pending resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.
On Tuesday, News 2 spoke with parents of local scouts to get their opinion on the policy.
Some parents said their isn't so much about other scouts who are gay, rather the leaders.
"As a parent, I do not wish to have a homosexual leader in the boy scouts," said Tommy Spencer, whose son is now an Eagle Scout. "They have their own moral values. They have a code to go by. It's just that their beliefs are not the same."
Wrenn Robbins also said she believes the scouts made the right call.
"Our teachings of do your duty, serve your country, serve your God, it's just the morals that we teach the boys," said Robbins, who has a son in boy scouts.
However, not every parent shares that opinion. Pastor Mike Usey, who has two sons who are Eagle Scouts, said he is disappointed.
"Scouts are in part, about trying to increase integrity in our young boys and teaching them to be leaders. Bigotry is not one of the scout values," said Usey.
Usey said at a time when we're trying to teach tolerance and acceptance and even the US military has done away with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", he doesn't understand why the scouts would do the opposite.
"Excluding good people from being part of the leadership of a troop, or excluding young boys to be a part of the troop, or encouraging them to lie about who they're becoming, I think that's wrong-headed and against the values of scouting, which we so strongly try to inculcate into our youth," said Usey.
The Boy Scouts of America hasn't taken any moral stand to explain this decision.
However, in a statement, Chief Scout Executive Bob Mazzuca said "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 advisors, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting."
Usey said he's talked to scout leaders who are embarrassed and believe this is at odds with the core values of scouting. He thinks it will only be a matter of time before its overturned.
In contrast, the Girl Scouts maintain a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on homosexuality and, as of last year, is inclusive of transgender youth.