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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America says the organization is discussing ending a long-standing ban on gay members and leaders. 

“This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organizations mission, principles, or religious beliefs,” said spokesman Deron Smith in a written statement. 

“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members, or parents.”

“I would not be the person that I am today without the time I spent in the Boy Scouts of America,” said Matt Comer who at the age of 14 was kicked out of a Winston-Salem troop after he publicly spoke out about being gay. 

“The Boy Scouts of America were such an ingrained and deep part of my life and to have that taken away was like having the rug taken out from under me.” 

The 26 year-old editor of Qnotes, a gay and lesbian community newspaper in Charlotte, says the announcement of lifting the ban is a move forward.  “LBGT people are gaining equality in every walk of life and that does not exclude the Boy Scouts of America.”

A representative with The Old Hickory Council, which represents troops in Northwest North Carolina including Winston-Salem, said they would support whatever polices are decided by the national organization.