Nightly News | January 28, 2013
>>> now to news of a big reversal being considered tonight by the boy scouts of america . a fundamental change in their long-standing policy toward gay scouts and scout leaders. our justice correspondent, pete williams , broke this story this afternoon. he's with us from our d.c. newsroom with more. pete, good evening.
>> reporter: brian, the boy scouts are on the verge of ending their policy of banning gay young people from the program. if approved, it would mark a huge change for an organization that has actively resisted this in the past.
>> the scouts fought hard against james dale , who was virtually a scouting poster boy , eagle scout , assistant scout master by age 18. but after he publicly declared he's gay, the scouts said he's no longer welcome. he sued and the u.s. supreme court ruled a decade ago the scouts had the legal right to exclude gays. today dale says he's shocked that the policy might be changing.
>> i think fair-minded americans know that discrimination is wrong. and that the boy scouts were out of step with america by excluding gay young people and telling nongay children that discrimination was an american value .
>> reporter: if approved, the new policy would end the national ban on guy scouts and scout leaders. leaving it up to local troops to decide the issue for themselves. in a statement, the boy scouts said members and parents would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families. it would be a big change for an organization that just seven months ago reaffirmed its ban on gays. the new move follows high-profile expulsions, including jennifer tore rel, removed last year as a den leader in ohio because she's gay. that prompted a protest from an eagles scout in iowa, zack walls, who told the democratic convention last summer about being raised by two mothers. and both barack obama and mitt romney said during the campaign that the boy scouts should change the policy. but tonight, the southern baptist convention says it's saddened by the news. churches sponsor well over half the nation's 116,000 local scouting organizations.
>> the boy scouts ' national board societies on this next week and tonight's insiders predict it will pass handily and then take effect june 1st , brian.
>> pete williams in our d.c. newsroom having broken the story earlier today. pete, thanks.