By Natalie Fultz
COLUMBUS, GA - The Boy Scouts of America will be allowing a previously forbidden sector of the population into its program. Since its establishment in 1910, gay members were not accepted, but now they will be.
"I respect the decision that was made by the Boy Scouts of America, and I support them. Scouting has made a tremendous impact on my life, and I will do whatever I can to continue supporting scouting," Congressman Sanford Bishop says.
The debate is sweeping across the nation.
Some churches that host boy scouts are pulling out their involvement with the organization, but one Columbus community activist and church "goer" is standing by their side.
"It's the right thing to do. First of all we have a couple of perspectives here. All American citizens have equal protection under the law to have their civil rights, and it's the right of every young person to be apart of the boy scouts,"
At the annual meeting last week, the Boy Scouts of America National Council voted on the policy. Sixty one percent were in favor, 39 were opposed.
The Boy Scouts of America policy will not prevent youth membership based on their sexual orientation, but it is not changing its stance on the current membership policy for all adult leaders.
"It is strictly not a feeling towards homosexuality nor an endorsement of that lifestyle. Sexuality and scouting is not allowed...heterosexual or homosexual,"
The southern region of the Boy Scouts of America comprised of 90 local councils voted in opposition of the policy change.
The new policy begins January 2014.