Nearly all of the scout leaders that testified Wednesday night in Bridgeport said the Boy Scouts of America is the best youth movement in the world. But not allowing openly gay scout leaders is against their message of inclusiveness.
"This is a great movement but I think we need to be able to allow all of them," said Dave Chick of East Haven, a former cub and scout master himself. "We are building young productive adults of the future and it's a shame we're not allowed to extend that to all youth."
Chick was one of nearly 100 that testified in Bridgeport that the Boy Scouts of America needs to change its ban on excluding gay scouts.
"But not be able to be an eagle scout just because of their sexual orientation. I think it would be a travesty to continue on with that," said Scott Redfern of Monroe.
"We feel very strongly that discriminating against gay scouts and leaders is not fair," said John Jesse of Danbury.
The Connecticut Yankee Council held this town hall style meeting Wednesday at Klein Auditorium like so many other boy scout councils across the country--to be a forum for its scouting family to voice their opinions.
"I'd say the boy scouts should stay who they are and what they're doing and be firm and true to god," said Paul Lesiw of Monroe, who's a cub scout den leader. He was in the vast minority at the meeting because he doesn't believe the boy scouts should let in any gay members of leaders.
"How do I teach my boys their duty to god if the lifestyle they are choosing and their parents are raising them up in violates that?"
Chick of East Haven says that when kids work their way through the program they eventually become more aware of who they are and that they can't be honest with themselves if they want to earn an eagle award.
"Most of the time we read about things happening in history tonight we’re writing history," Chick added.
The Connecticut Yankee Council will gather what they heard and then present it to the national board for review this May.