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Furor from both left and right over proposed shift in Boy Scouts no-gays policy

BY DAVID CRARY, AP NATIONAL WRITER

scoutsNEW YORK -- The Boy Scouts of America faces intensifying criticism from the left and right over a proposal to move away from a mandatory no-gays membership policy and allow troop sponsors to decide the matter for themselves.

The Human Rights Campaign, a major gay-rights group that initially welcomed the BSA's possible shift, said Thursday that it was inadequate and demanded that the Scouts adopt a nationwide policy to accept gays as scouts and adult leaders.

The HRC said corporations that continued to donate funds to the Scouts if any troops were allowed to discriminate would lose points in an annual evaluation of how major employers deal with gay-related workplace issues.

Meanwhile, conservative groups which support the long-standing no-gays policy asked their followers to flood BSA headquarters with phone calls opposing any change,

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, urged callers to persist even if they couldn't get through at first.

"The BSA national leadership were not prepared for the thousands of Americans who were shocked to hear that an organization that could always be counted on for standing for what's right was about to cave in to homosexual activists and corporations," Perkins said in an emailed appeal.

"It is so important that you keep the pressure on, to show them how devastating this moral collapse will be for the Scouts and the country," he said.

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