Those who were waiting to see if the Boy Scouts would lift its ban on gay scouts and leaders will have to wait longer.
On Wednesday the Boy Scouts of America's national executive board postponed until May — at the Scouts' annual meeting — a decision on whether charter troops can establish rules on gay members, according to a Wall Street Journal article.
The article states that a task force from religious groups, which charter 70 percent of scouting units, asked for the delay.
The board released a statement Wednesday on the postponement.
"After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy," the Scouts said.
Earlier, the organization said it was considering amending its policy against homosexual participation in favor of allowing local troops to decide on their own.
The longstanding ban was expected to be talked about at the national executive board meeting, which started Monday in Irving, Texas.
The planned talks sparked comments from activists on both sides of the issue.
The New York Times reported that supporters of the ban feared the Boy Scouts' softened approach could undermine the organization's legacy of producing great, moral leaders. Equality activists worried the piecemeal approach would encourage discrimination in some troops.
Opinion was divided at Swampscott Patch were commenters either said the ban's end represented a triumph for equality or said it would lead to counterprotests — Eagle Scouts returning their badges if the ban is lifted.
Earlier, at least one Swampscott Eagle Scout returned his badge to protest the ban on gay membership.
Matt Hallion of Swampscott was among 150 Eagle Scouts who mailed back their awards to the Boy Scouts as of Aug. 26, 2012. Eagle badges and medals were sent back to the Boy Scouts to protest its reaffirmation of its policy to not grant membership to open gays, according to a boston.com article.
The Boy Scouts of America have confirmed that medals and badges have been returned, said the boston.com piece.
Below is part of a note from Matt and a letter he sent to the Boy Scouts of America. His wife, Karen, shared the note and letter with Swampscott Patch last year on our Facebook Page:
"If you know me at all, you know that I've struggled with my beliefs and where they clash with the official stance of the BSA. They reaffirmed their comittment to their membership policies a few weeks ago. It really disappointed me and made me think long and hard about where I stand on this and I agonized over it. I spent days thinking about it and struggling with it, but in the end, I decided I needed to send my Eagle Badge back to them."
What's your opinion on allowing gay members and leaders in the Boy Scouts? Tell us in the comments below.