Local Boy Scout Leaders Sound Off on Reversal of Gay Ban

May 25, 2013 Updated May 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM EDT

By Hilary Lane

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May 25, 2013 Updated May 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM EDT

In a controversial decision this Thursday, over 61 percent of the Boy Scouts of America's national delegates from all across the country voted to lift a ban on openly gay youth.

It is a decision that has many passionate scouts and parents within the local community buzzing.

Some say the new policy marks a much needed and long overdue change. Others feel allowing gay youth to participate goes against the traditional Boy Scout values.

"There is no place for homosexuality in the scouting organization period," said Tom Sansone, Assistant Cub Master, Troop 104 in Kenmore. "I think it's a black and white issue."

Sansone said he is shocked by the Boy Scouts of America's decision to allow openly gay boys to participate in the organization after a ban spanning more than a century.

"If a 14-year-old openly gay Boy Scout was going on a camping trip, would you want your son bunking with him? I know I wouldn't," said Sansone.

However, some leaders in the local community say it's a win for equality.

"It is, it's more equal," said Richard Rotolo, Assistant Leader, Troop 931, Tonawanda.

Thirteen years ago, the Supreme Court ruled BSA was a private organization and was free to decide who they could admit.

Last summer, the scouting organization voted in favor of maintaining their gay ban.

After pressure from local chapters, the rules have now changed.

Even though the policy for openly gay youth has been reversed, the ban on openly gay scout leaders still remains in place.

The Commissioner of BSA says a change to this policy is not on the table at this time.

All young men will be able to participate as scouts in the organization in January 2014.