ALAMEDA -- The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America has proposed a resolution to address the controversy over its current policy banning openly homosexual Scouts or leaders.
"No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone," the council statement read. But bans against openly gay adult leaders would not change under the resolution, which, if voted in next month, would become effective in January 2014.
Former Alameda Scout Council President Scott Kerns said, in his opinion, the National Council is "floating a trial balloon."
"I'm kind of holding my breath," said Kerns, a board member of the Alameda Scout Council. "We're small in Alameda and we run our own show; there is a huge disconnect between what we do and what Texas (where the national headquarters is based) is doing."
"Alameda has averaged 18 Eagle Scouts in the last decade," he said. "That's unusual. We've exceeded 20,000 hours of community service. We do a lot here in town."
Kerns, whose son in an Eagle Scout, said as a troop leader he saw an eclectic group of youths who came to scouting as a way to connect.
"Scouting takes kids along at their own speed. The learn skills and they just blossom," he said, adding that all kids benefit from scout programs.
Other local youth organizations, such as Girls Inc. of the Island City, the Alameda Boys and Girls Club and Girl Scouts do not have such restrictions.
Members of the National Council are set to vote on the proposed resolution on May 20.
Debra Arbuckle, a member of Out on the Island, a network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, said in her view, the proposal is ridiculous.
"The membership can be gay, but they can't graduate to become a leader," she said. "I really think they just don't get it. They're trying to appease and they're not comprehending there is no danger in gay leaders or gay members. I'm glad for the kids, but it's a modified glad because it's such a contradictory. They haven't accomplished anything."