Among her peers, 17-year-old Emily Schexnayder says sexual orientation is not an issue when it comes to being involved in Scouting or school activities.
“It’s just so wrong to tell somebody you can’t be part of Scouting because you’re gay. Among my friends, it’s not a popular belief to be against gays,” said the Austin High School senior, who belongs to a co-ed troop called Venture Crew, based in South Central Austin and made up of teens who take on higher-risk activities such as scuba diving and caving.
Thursday’s decision by the Boy Scouts of America to lift the ban on gay Scouts, was also welcomed by her mother, Faith Schexnayder, a Boy Scouts volunteer, who attended a news conference Thursday evening at the Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council. “I think kids will be happy about this, because being gay is just not an issue for them,” she said.
Council spokesman Charles Mead said in a statement: “While members of Scouting have differing opinions on this policy decision, everyone agrees that children are better off when they are in Scouting. Our volunteer and professional staff will continue working tirelessly to provide a great Scouting experience to the youth of Central Texas.”
Margarito Aranda, leader of Troop 46, sponsored by St. Mark United Methodist Church, said the policy change won’t make a difference in his troop: “The boys are in their own world thinking about going camping, rifle shooting and getting in a canoe.”
Danny Martinez, scoutmaster for Troop 448 in Southwest Austin, called the lifting of the ban a step in the right direction. He said he was not speaking for his troop or the the troop’s sponsor, the Knights of Columbus men’s group at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church.
“Scouting prepares boys for life, and all boys deserve the chance to experience it, no matter what their differences,” Martinez said.