Poll: Majority support opening Boy Scouts to gays
Organization won't vote on policy until May
A poll released Wednesday showed a majority of American voters think the Boy Scouts of America should lift their ban on gay Scouts and scoutmasters, the same day the group delayed a vote on the ban until May.
The Quinnipiac University survey indicated 55 percent of respondents said the ban should end, and 33 percent said it should remain in place. There was a gap among man and women in the poll -- 61 percent of women supported allowing gay members, while 49 percent of men supported such a move.
Differences also emerged among religious affiliation. White Catholics supported ending the ban 63 percent-25 percent, while white evangelical Protestants said the ban should stand, 56 percent-33 percent.
"Now that the Armed Forces ban on openly gay service members has been lifted, and polls show increasing acceptance of same-sex marriage, most American voters think it's time to open up the Boy Scouts too," Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said of the poll.
Quinnipiac's survey also showed a dip in the percentage of Americans who participate in scouting programs. While 54 percent of the voters surveyed said they were in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, only 36 percent said their children participated.
The Boy Scouts executive board was slated to vote on lifting the ban Wednesday, but delayed the decision, saying it needed more time to get input from its members. The full national council, which numbers more than 1,400, will vote on lifting the ban in May.
The issue has sparked an array of organizations to voice their opinions, with some conservative groups worried that allowing gays would erode the Boy Scouts' moral message, and gay rights groups saying the ban amounts to discrimination.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted from 1,772 registered voters nationwide by telephone from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4. The sampling error was plus or minus 2.3 percentage points.
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