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Obama Urges Boy Scouts to Drop Ban on Gays

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President Barack Obama says the Boy Scouts of America should open its membership to gays.

The president told CBS television Sunday that the Boy Scouts is a great institution that exposes young people to opportunities and leadership. He said no one should be barred from that.

The president called for more gay rights during last month's inaugural address and last year gave his backing to same sex marriage.

Scout executives plan to consider changing their long-standing ban on gay members when they meet this week.

The executives would drop sexual preference from their official membership criteria, leaving the matter up to individual chapters and sponsors.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Scouts' right to ban homosexuals in 2000. But several large corporate sponsors, including UPS delivery service and Merck pharmaceuticals, said they would cut contributions if the Scouts continue to prohibit gay members.

Conservative religious groups. which sponsor many Scout units, strongly support keeping the ban on gays.

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