The Boy Scouts of America's policies on openly-gay members have frustrated gay rights activists and liberals for quite some time. Recently, the organization's decision to continue its ban on homosexuals has added fuel to critics' fire. And a New Jersey state senator's decision not to accept an award from the organization due to these issues is likely to further stoke the debate.
Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) is refusing to accept a nomination for an award from the Patriots Path Council, a local Boy Scouts troop. He told 1010 WINS, a regional radio station, that he is "troubled" by the Boy Scouts stance on gays and, thus, could not bring himself to accept an honor from the group.
"I was grateful for their thoughts and I do respect all the good works that the Boy Scouts have done," Lesniak said. "I was a Boy Scout as a matter of fact, but I am very troubled by their exclusionary policies towards gay boys."
At the center of his issue with the exclusionary policies, Lesniak said that damage could be done to young men who he believes have no control over their orientation.
"It’s not their choice, it’s who they are and no good can come from them not being accepted for who they are," he continued. "They’re a good organization, they do great things, but they could do even greater things if they change their policy and allow gay boys to participate in their activities."
The Patriots Path Council released a statement following Lesniak's refusal, describing its "diverse" membership pool. While the organization is disappointed with the senator's decision, leaders wrote, "We fully understand and appreciate that not everyone will agree with any one position or policy."
(H/T: CBS New York)