Twenty-six members of the US Congress have called on the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which is celebrating its centenary this year, to end its long-standing discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“Regrettably, the current, discriminatory policy of the Boy Scouts of America has denied opportunities for young scouts, community-oriented citizens, and loving parents,” reads their letter to the BSA.

The letter was sent to Robert Mazzuca, the Chief Scout Executive, following the organisation’s recent rejection of a Vermont lesbian couple who wanted to volunteer for their 10 year old son’s Cub Scout pack.

It goes on to add: “As you celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, it is long past time that the Boy Scouts finally provide the opportunity for all Scouts, Leaders, and volunteers, to share in the joys of Scouting, regardless of sexual orientation.”

“I’ll always be a proud Eagle Scout, but this discriminatory policy must end,” said US Representative Gary Ackerman, who is a signatory to the letter, in a statement.

“Rejecting a Cub Scout’s mothers from volunteering just because of their sexual orientation doesn’t comply with the Scout law I recited at Scout meetings.”

Lesbians and gays have been officially prohibited from becoming members or serving in leadership positions in the Boy Scouts of America since 1991.

The organisation’s position statement issued that year states: “We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.”

US courts have affirmed the Scout’s right as a private organisation to place restrictions on its membership.

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