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Wisconsin Boy Scouts won't get the 'discrimination badge'

The Boy Scouts of America has not wavered in its position on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender scouts and leaders: The LGBT community is not welcome. Scouts and troop leaders of a local council in the Northeast announced recently that they are joining Wisconsin's Northern Star Council in following their own consciences -- and the law.

The Northern Star Council's commitment to Scouting's mission of youth development does not exclude participation for any reason, according to a statement recently posted on its website. The organization serves 75,000 scouts in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

As other councils reiterate their opposition to the policy, the national organization has apparently remained silent. The found of Scouts for Equality said this is neither the first time nor likely the last time local councils have stood up for "one of the key principles on which BSA was founded: mutual religious respect."

In July, BSA reaffirmed its position in a public announcement. The move raised eyebrows nationwide; the organization is facing pressure from within the organization as well as from the outside. Eagle Scouts and two prominent national board members are among the high profile opponents to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. BSA's decision is based on the recommendation of a "secret committee" that studied the issue for two years before, according to a BSA representative, unanimously endorsing the ban.

For the Northern Star Council, the anti-LGBT policy is not in keeping at all with its values. In its statement of inclusiveness, the council makes its position clear in statements about respecting the beliefs and rights of others and welcoming all people who can help further Scouting's mission. Notably, at the end of the list, the council adds:

Northern Star Council follows all laws and regulations dealing with employees' rights and the fair treatment of people on any basis, and seeks to raise our communities' children to do the same.

Source: ThinkProgress, "Second Boy Scout Council Stands Up To BSA, Refuses To Discriminate," Josh Israel, Aug. 8, 2012

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