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Gay Brothers React To Delayed Decision On Boy Scout Ban

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Lucian Tessier receives his Eagle Scout rating in 2010 from Scoutmaster Craig Iscoe
Courtesy of Tessier family
Lucian Tessier receives his Eagle Scout rating in 2010 from Scoutmaster Craig Iscoe

The Boy Scouts of America have delayed a decision on whether to drop its policy to exclude gay members. One family from Maryland whose gay sons are both active in scouts are remaining cautiously optimistic, even as they wished BSA had finalized a decision. 

"It's incredibly unfortunate. It's almost akin to the fiscal situation of kicking the can down the road," says Lucien Tessier, 20, who was an avid boy scout with Troop 52 in Chevy Chase. "While I'd like to see an end to discrimination across the board, I was hoping for some change now." 

Lucien's 16-year-old brother, Pascal is also on his way to earning his Eagle Scout rating in the same troop. The brothers also happen to be gay. Lucien, who came out in high school, says that although pack leaders and some of his fellow scouts knew he was gay, it never affected how he was treated.

Although her sons' sympathetic troop made it possible for them to continue to participate, the boys' mother, Tracie Felker, is still concerned about one option the Boy Scouts are considering: allowing local scout troops to decide who gets in and who doesn't.

"What it does basically is absolve the Boy Scouts of any responsibility, and that in and of itself is less than ideal," Felker says. "You would want the Boy Scouts to say openly and out loud that we embrace everyone, and if they take this halfway position it s not sending that message." 

Despite the current fight over equal rights, Lucien remains incredibly positive about his time in scouts.

"It certainly made me a better person and I think it makes anyone who joins a better person," Lucien says. "I just hope that the leadership of the BSA will realize that this has become a human rights issue that has rapidly become part of the 21st century everywhere."

Oliver Tessier, Lucien's father, was also a scout. He says the tide of progress may play a role in the BSA's decision.

"If the military can accept gay people, then why can't the Boy Scouts?" Oliver says. "If society is moving in this direction, then the Boy Scouts need to move there too."

Leaders with the Boy Scouts of America say no decision on the policy will be made until the organization's annual meeting in May. They acknowledged in a statement Wednesday that they've received a huge outpouring of feedback on the issue.

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