Boy Scouts of America consider changing their policy on accepting gay members


If you're gay there is no place for you in the Boy Scouts of America, either as a leader or a youth member. It is a long-held rule supported by sponsoring church groups. But this week the national organization is deciding whether to change. The very fact that the group is even considering inclusion .. has led some to call this a Watershed moment for gay rights in the U.S. Others aren't so sure, especially since the National group can't tell the local groups what to do.

Mother of Cub Scout, Jennifer Tyrell

Jennifer Tyrell just wants to be den leader for her 8-year-old son's Cub Scout pack. Yesterday, the Pittsburgh woman and several other activists delivered petitions to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas, urging the Scouts to repeal its policy banning gay parents and youth from membership.

The organization is considering whether to leave it up to local packs to decide who can or cannot participate. Ms. Tyrell says she hopes she will once again be able to play a role in her son's Scout activities.

The push for inclusion at the Boy Scouts got the thumbs up from the U.S. President. In an interview on Sunday with CBS News, Barack Obama hoped the Boy Scouts of America would end its ban on gay members.

In contrast, Scouts Canada has allowed gay members and leaders for 13 years now -- since 2000.

Gay Rights Activist, Mark Segal

Mark Segal has been fighting for gay rights in the U-S for more than four decades. Today he is the publisher of the newspaper Philadelphia Gay News. He says the fact that the Boy Scouts is considering changing their policy is another sign of the changing times for gays in North America. Mr. Segal joined us from his home in Philadelphia.

Garden State Equality, Troy Stevenson

While many gay-rights activists are watching closely to see what happens with the Boy Scouts of America, not everyone is convinced this is a watershed moment.

Troy Stevenson is the Executive Director of the group Garden State Equality, an organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in New Jersey. We reached him in Montclair, New Jersey.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch and Idella Sturino.

Mail: The Heavy

Well, it has been a provocative week already on The Current ... Yesterday we brought you the story of Dara Lynn Weiss and her daughter, who she calls Bea. Dara Lynn Weiss is the author of a new book called The Heavy, which chronicles her attempts to help her daughter lose weight through a strict calorie-counting diet.

Our interview with her, and the panel that came after it, sparked a lot of feedback.
And here's what some of you had to say:

Michael Totze tweets:

To me, Dara-Lynn Weiss did exactly the right thing, and for all the right reasons. Obesity has to be fought on all fronts.

And this tweet is from Fiona Bradbury:

I wouldn't tell the child it was a diet. I would take a good look at our eating habits and adjust it. Dump the junk!

Lee Smith from Woodbridge Ontario writes:

This mother is taking a lot of abuse for her story about this diet. This story seems clear evidence, that no matter what, the mother is always blamed. If this little girl continued to gain weight, her mother would be seen as negligent. If she puts her daughter on a diet, mum is seen as obsessive and controlling.

And this next comment is from registered dietitian Jennifer Sobkin of Victoria:

I commend the mother's courage and her care for her daughter. However I question the actual foods eaten, and also the focus on calories, especially if the goal was to help her feel full and satisfied after meals. Real food is what we need. Ditch these light and low fat products that America is obsessed with. It promotes the culture of dieting and restriction.

And finally, Dodie Goldney of Kamloops, BC relates to this story in a very personal way. She writes:

I was put on my first diet at age 6. My parents and I went to a dietician and then my whole life changed. Being forced to have an obsessive relationship with food and weight so young altered my whole life. Weight Watchers by 12, fad diets by 18, and yup, I had a full blown eating disorder by 23. I developed severe depression, anxiety and panic attacks, which I am still dealing with to this day. I am 44 and still overweight, despite being physically active and eating well. However, all that matters to me is that my medical tests keep coming back normal and my doctor is very happy with me. Putting me on diets, having my food rigidly controlled by others - these were NOT fair things to do to me at such a young age, and I hate that this woman has made her daughter's story so public.

Your Stories of Romance

Less than two weeks to go before Valentine's Day, and this year we'd like to hear your stories of romance. If you have any love stories of self-affirmation or of beaus with bells and banjoes, please save them for Oprah. This is The Current, where we thrive on the difficult, the grim, the arcane. That's not to say the stories can't be happy, we just prefer courses that do not run smoothly, or at least contain a dose of self-parody.

E-mail us through our website. Call us toll free at 1 877 287 7366. Write to us at Box 500, Station A, Toronto, M5W 1E6.

Last Word - Eagle Scout Derek Nance

Now, we've been talking today about the Boy Scouts of America and the pressure building on the organization to admit gay members and leaders. Of course, there are likely many gay scouts, they just know not to talk about it.

Last month, Eagle Scout Derek Nance posted a Youtube video where he came out to his fellow San Diego-area scouts. It was clearly tough for him to do -- but perhaps tougher to stay quiet. He gets today's Last Word.

Other segments from today's show:

Thorsten Heins: Can new phones save BlackBerry?

The S.E.C.R.E.T to selling erotic fiction beyond "Fifty Shades of Grey"

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