In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the Boy Scouts and its right to ban gays. Since then, and especially in recent years, the organization has come under increasing public pressure to change their policies.
The 10,600-acre Summit site borders more than 70,000 acres of the New River Gorge National River in Fayetteville. The Jamboree, being held July 15 to 24, will be the opening event at the site.
Deron Smith, publicity director for the Boy Scouts of America, says the organization is moving forward with plans for the Jamboree.
"We appreciate everyone's right to express an opinion and remain focused on delivering a great Jamboree program for our Scouts,'' Smith wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
The BSA's policy has drawn attention before and gay rights organizations hailed Jepsen and members of Train for taking a stand and helping to bring the issue back into the public debate.
"Carly Rae Jepsen and Train's decisions not only send the right message to the BSA, but remind LGBT young people that they are supported and accepted,'' Rich Ferraro, GLAAD's vice president of communications, said in a statement to the AP.
Although Wender would like to see BSA accommodate all young men regardless of sexual orientation, he said it might be a funding issue with various religious organizations that is preventing a decision from being made.
"I understand that some religious organizations are very influential with scouting and are opposed to it," he said. "I don't know the sentiments of the folks in the leadership positions, but even if it was to open up and get past the issue, there is the other side of the discussion. They are dependent on private funding for their efforts, so it's an issue that does not have an easy path or answers."
Wender said the presence of The Summit at the New River Gorge creates "a tremendous opportunity for us for the young men in our county who also live very challenging youths. There are so many wrong things that can happen now growing up in our society and I hope we can be smart enough to use The Summit as a tool to give guidance to these young men who might not otherwise have this opportunity.
"I am all for the Summit and I can certainly appreciate the challenges the leaders are facing," Wender said. "I just wish it would have boiled over a year ago so it wouldn't be sitting right on the edge of the Jamboree."
Reach Kathryn Gregory at kathr...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5119.