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Originally published Friday, April 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

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Gay-rights activists here: Scouts’ plan falls short

A Washington state gay-rights group says even if the Boy Scouts of America stops excluding gay youth, it would be “far from acceptable” to continue to bar gay adult leaders.

Seattle Times staff reporters

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A Washington state gay-rights group said the proposal by the Boy Scouts of America to lift its exclusion of gay youth members but continue to bar gay adult leaders is inadequate and contradictory.

“This is movement in a positive direction, but far from an acceptable resolution,” said Josh Friedes of Equal Rights Washington.

“Saying you cannot have openly gay Scout leaders sends the wrong message to gay youth, and it sends the wrong message to society,” Friedes said. “Ultimately, the only acceptable solution is to allow scoutmasters who are openly gay to serve on the same basis as any other adult.”

Equal Rights Washington is a political-advocacy organization for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. It has asked — and will continue to ask — its members to write to Scouting organizations in opposition to any ban on gays, Friedes said.

National Scouting officials Friday said they’ll ask the group’s national council to vote on the new proposal.

The position is seen as attempting to take a middle ground between organizations that want the ban lifted and church groups that want it retained.

The issue has deeply divided the local Scouting community, said Sharon Moulds, executive for the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts.

“Me personally, I don’t have an opinion. All I ever wanted to do is have great programs for kids. The rest of this is politics,” Moulds said.

When the decision is voted on at the national Boy Scouts of America meeting in May, the Chief Seattle Council will be represented by seven voting representatives. Moulds said the local council has taken no formal position on the subject.

“I think that no matter what happens, there is going to be fallout,” she said.

Whatever the outcome, the local Scouting organization, which serves 26,000 boys, will do its best to implement whatever decision is made and move on, she said.

Jack Broom: jbroom@seattletimes.com

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