CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Local Boy Scouts of America leaders, parents and scouts will meet next week to discuss what effect ending a longtime ban on gay leaders and scouts would have on the organization.
Only scouts, scout leaders, parents and prominent donors will be allowed to attend the meeting, set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Scouts' Buckskin Council headquarters on Kanawha Boulevard, said Jeffery Purdy, the Buckskin Council's scout executive. The meeting could be moved to a larger venue if necessary, he said.
The Buckskin Council oversees Boy Scouts in 19 counties in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Kentucky. Its area includes the new Summit Bechtel Reserve in Fayette County, scheduled to host its first National Scout Jamboree in July.
The Boy Scouts began weighing whether to allow gay members to join openly after receiving backlash from equality groups earlier this year. In February, national officials put off a decision until May, then asked local chapters to hold meetings to gather feedback.
Officials say they're concerned that a future policy change could affect scout membership, donations and church involvement.
"This is not about a discussion right or wrong," Purdy said of next week's meeting. "But instead we're asking donors if this change would affect their decision to donate."
The council has sent out cards to scouts, parents and leaders, asking them to call the Buckskin Council at 304-340-3663 for reservations. No one who doesn't call ahead will be allowed in, Purdy said, and neither will reporters.
"We only want to have a discussion with stakeholders," he said. "It's not meant to be a secret meeting. We just don't want to have outside people commandeer the discussion."