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Lesbian mom petitions Boy Scouts to allow gay adult volunteers

Local effort comes as New York council makes historic hire

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SAN ANTONIO – On the same day Adella Freeman and her 15-year-old son delivered 125,000 signatures demanding the Alamo Area Council of Boy Scouts of America reject the national policy barring gay adult volunteers, the New York council announced a historic hire.

An 18-year-old Eagle Scout will become the organization's first openly gay summer camp leader, a radical departure from its long-held policy.

In sharp contrast, Freeman said she and her partner were told by a troop leader in Schertz last month they couldn't volunteer because he had learned they were lesbian.

"My jaw literally dropped," Freeman said.

She said in protest, her son gave up on his dream of becoming an Eagle Scout for now.

But she said the decision in New York may help their cause.

"I think it's a step in the right direction. Let's hope that will continue," Freeman said.

Justin Wilson, an Eagle Scout and Iraq War veteran with Scouts for Equality, said he agrees.

"To say that it's a national policy and there's nothing they can do is not true any more, given what New York has done," Wilson said. "They're able to establish local non-discriminatory policies."

The scouting organization, which dates back 105 years, changed its policy in 2013 to allow open gay youth, but not adults.

In response to the New York hiring, Deron Smith, a national spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, said, "The Boy Scouts' policies for adult leaders and employees have not changed. We were only recently made aware of this issue. We are looking into the matter."

As for Freeman's petitions, Angel Martinez, a local spokesman for the Alamo Area Council, said, "The BSA believes every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of scouting. We do not seek to discuss the sexual preference of our adult volunteer leaders."

Yet Nick Zamora, Freeman's son, said, "I had been in two prior troops and they'd said nothing about my mom being gay."

He said both of those Boy Scout troops were church-affiliated.