Michael Prengler / Reuters Pascal Tessier, 16, from Kensington, Md., an openly gay scout who was facing expulsion from the Boy Scouts, answers questions from the media while his mother, Tracie Felker, looks on.
Over 61 percent of Scouting‘s National Council of 1,232 delegates from across the country voted to lift the ban, BSA officials said. The final tally was 757 yes votes, to 475 no (another 168 delegates did not cast a ballot since they were not present at the meeting). The ban on gay leaders was not voted on and will remain in place.
“This resolution today dealt with youth. We have not changed our adult membership standards. They have served us well for the last 100 years. Those were not on the table,” said Tico Perez, BSA national commissioner.
The policy change will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, “allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units,” the BSA said in a statement.
PROVIDENCE, R.I.Rhode Island on Thursday became the nation’s 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to wed, as a 16-year effort to extend marriage rights in this heavily Roman Catholic state ended with the triumphant cheers of hundreds of gays, lesbians, their families and friends.
Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law on the Statehouse steps Thursday evening following a final 56-15 vote in the House. The first weddings will take place Aug. 1, when the law takes effect.
“I’ve been waiting 32 years for this day, and I never thought it would come in my lifetime,” said Raymond Beausejour, a 66-year-old gay North Providence man who has been with his partner for 32 years. “For the first time in my life, I feel welcome in my own state.”