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It's a controversial debate within the Boy Scouts of America—the ban on gay and lesbian members. And in an area like the Tennessee Valley, where scouting is so popular, the outcome could have a major impact here.
The issue made waves across the country after openly gay mother Jennifer Tyrrell was ousted from her position as a Cub Scout den leader. The scouts have now announced they will consider changing their policy and allowing individual units to determine their own rules concerning gay and lesbian leaders.
Joshua Solomon became an Eagle Scout five years ago by way of Troop 30 right here in Chattanooga. In fact, his older brother, father and grandfather are all Eagle Scouts.
"Be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent," Solomon said.
That's all Joshua said is needed to be a good Eagle Scout. He said sexual orientation is irrelevant.
"I believe a person's sexual orientation has nothing to do with being a good mentor or role model for a young child," Solomon said.
The national conversation began when Tyrrell was forced to resign because she was openly gay.
She was her 7-year-old son's den leader in Bridgeport, Ohio.
"My biggest concern is that the children will think I abandoned them because they don't understand," Tyrrell said.
"They may have banned it because they think it was a sin, but if you got rid of all sinners out of scouts, then you'd get rid of all the scouts because nobody's perfect," Solomon said.
Lee Solomon has been an Eagle Scout for more than 40 years. He's a former scout leader of Troop 30 at Brainerd United Methodist Church.
"I think they thought it was a way of getting rid of pedophiles, but the reality is, pedophiles don't have to be gay—and gay people are usually not pedophiles," Solomon said.
The conversation was a huge talker on NewsChannel 9's Facebook page. Eagle Scout John Matthew Fortune said, "I think the law should stand. The scouts is for turning boys into men not boys into girls—that's what the Girl Scouts are for."
It remains a conversation that has many people wondering what's best for the organization.
This article is published with permission of NewsChannel 9.