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Majority of Americans still support ban on gay scouts leaders

A new Gallup poll has found majority support for most key areas of gay and lesbian rights but a majority also still support the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on openly gay scout leaders
A Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout
Photo: Tom Anderson

New research by the Gallup polling agency has found that a majority of Americans still support the Boy Scouts of America being allowed to bar gay men from leadership roles despite most Americans now being comfortable with gays and lesbians adopting and receiving spousal benefits.

Gallup found that 78 percent of Americans now supported the inheritance rights of gay and lesbian spouses, while a similar number supported health insurance and other employee benefits going to gay and lesbian spouses.

61 percent of Americans now support adoption rights for gays and lesbians – up from only 54 percent in 2009.

However only 42 percent of Americans thought the Boy Scouts of America should allow openly gay adults to serve as boy scout leaders.

Gallup did not ask respondents about what they thought of the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of refusing to allow LGBT young people to be boy scouts.

Republicans were the least likely to support openly gay scout leaders, at just 26 percent, while a majority of Democrats were happy for openly gay adults to be scout leaders, at 60 percent.

Not having looked into the issue previously, Gallup were unwilling to speculate on why so many Americans supported the ban on gay scout leaders despite their support for other areas of LGBT rights.

‘Given the lack of a trend on this question, it is not clear whether support is higher than in the past, or the degree to which the lack of support may reflect respondents' reluctance to say how a private organization should decide who holds its positions of leadership,’ Gallup wrote in its analysis.

National polling by Gallup has found that 53 percent of Americans now support the right for same-sex couples to wed.

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