(CBS) — The Boy Scouts of America has officially ended its traditional ban on gay scout leaders, with some religious exceptions.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports on local reaction to the leadership vote of 45-12.READ MORE: Jussie Smollett Takes The Witness Stand, Describes Alleged Attack As Real And Like 'Something Out Of Looney Tunes Adventures'
Members of the Chicago chapter of Scouts for Equality celebrated the decision Monday at a West Loop restaurant.
When they marched in this year’s Chicago Pride Parade, they could only hope for this moment.
Eric Hetland, 25, was one of them. He’d made it to Eagle Scout in 2007 but could not take the next step into scouting leadership.
“I had this tension between my love for scouting and my sexual identity, being bisexual,” he says. “There were times I didn’t feel like I could be my true self.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Coldest Temperatures In Nearly 10 Months Early Tuesday
He came out as his true self and left the Boy Scouts. Monday, Hetland put on his Eagle Scout shirt and began filling out an application to become a Scout leader.
Also celebrating was a West Side state lawmaker who’s been backing Scouts for Equality.
“You have to be excited for any time when you move closer to equality for everyone,” state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, said.
As for religious groups that sponsor Scout activities, under the new policy, they can choose leaders consistent with their faith.MORE NEWS: View Live Radar
A leader of the Catholic Committee on Scouting says churches “must be allowed to establish leadership standards consistent with their faith.” The Mormon Church says it will examine the changes.