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Published July 17, 2012, 09:29 PM

Boy Scouts of America reaffirms ban on gays

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- In a day where national organizations seem to be more and more accepting of homosexual men and women, one group is standing firm on its anti-gay policy.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- In a day where national organizations seem to be more and more accepting of homosexual men and women, one group is standing firm on its anti-gay policy.

After a two-year review of its membership policy, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its policy of excluding all gays.

It was a decision the Boy Scouts of America says it did not come to lightly. But still one that local leaders feel is the absolute best policy for the organization. It has local members of the LGBT community disappointed.

Joshua Boschee - Supporter of Gay Rights: "All it's doing is continuing to create difference and intolerance in our communities, especially when we think of the increasing rates of depression and suicide rates of LGBT youth."

District 44's Joshua Boschee is attempting to become North Dakota's first openly gay legislator this November. The 30-year-old Minot native says the Boy Scouts of America is heading in a direction opposite of most organizations these days.

Joshua Boschee: "Unfortunately, it just reaffirms discrimination and bigotry"

In it's statement, the Scouts said it organized an 11 member special committee in 2010 to examine the membership policy. It did not release the names of those individuals but contends it included a diversity of perspectives.

Joshua Boschee: "It's unfortunate that an organization wants to hold a public policy like this without backing it up."

Mark Holtz - Scout Executive, Northern Lights Council: "This isn't a recent policy, this is a long standing policy of the organization."

Northern Lights Council Scout Executive Mark Holtz says the Scouts have repeatedly surveyed it's members and parents about the issue.

Mark Holtz: "Parents don't sign their children up to be introduced to this topic, that's not what we're in business to do."

Girl Scouts of America has had a non-discrimination clause since 1980, but still the Boy Scouts of America insists it is doing what's best for its members.

Mark Holtz: "As a private membership organization we teach our membership to respect the differences and opinions of others and we would only ask that people that have differing opinions from us would respect our agencies decision."

Change.org says more than 300,000 people have signed its petition urging the Scouts to abandon the exclusion policy.

The petition is to be delivered to the Scouts' national headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday.

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