Burr Ridge troop sponsors favor change to Boy Scout rules
Updated: February 5, 2013 2:10PM
BURR RIDGE — A change in Boy Scout policy on welcoming gays may be welcomed locally.
The Rev. Robert Wyatt of St. Helena’s Episcopal Church in Burr Ridge said the church’s vestry would have to vote regarding the groups it sponsors, Boy Scout Troop 69, Cub Scout Pack 69 and Venture Scout Crew 69. But he personally would welcome the change.
“The official policy of the church is that we are not a discriminating church,” Wyatt said.
The Boys Scouts of America announced Monday the organization is considering a dramatic change in its 100-year-old policy that excludes homosexuals as leaders and youth members.
Under the change being considered, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue — either maintaining an exclusion of gays or opening up their membership.
Wyatt said the Boy Scouts have done wonderful things for the parish.
“We not only welcome them, we’ll be happy for them to welcome all kinds of people,” he said.
Steve Griesbach, superintendent of Gower Elementary District 62 schools, said the school’s PTOs are the officials sponsors of Cub Scout Pack 56 and Boy Scout Troop 56, which use Gower West and Gower Middle as their meeting places. While any decision regarding membership would be up to them, Griesbach said the school district falls under federal guidelines that prohibit discrimination.
Griesbach said the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed this issue decades ago when he said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
“We should be judging people by the content of their character,” Griesbach said.
Local Scout leaders deferred questions to Scout Executive Irene Szinavel of the DesPlaines Valley Council. Szinavel did not respond to a request for comment.
Denise Linke contributed to this story.