There is a growing debate across America about whether openly gay members should be allowed in the Boy Scouts of America. The group's national council will take a critical vote on this topic next week.
Opponents of openly gay scouts were out on Orange Blossom Trail in full force on Friday afternoon, making their views known. Their signs read "VOTE NO" on the resolution. The group of scout leaders, church member and moms do not want openly gay members in scouting.
"There are gays in scouting. They have to act appropriate. Their behavior and their conduct cannot be a distraction to the mission of scouting," said John Stemberger, founder of OnMyHonor.net, a website lobbying to keep politics and sex out of scouting.
The Orlando rally was one of forty held across America, designed to send a message to national leaders.
"What the new policy is proposing is open homosexuality, that is to flaunt sexuality and to be very open and blunt about the politics that comes with being gay," Stemberger added. "We think that's really inappropriate."
He said any issues surrounding being gay should be discussed with parents at home, and not during scouting events.
On the other side of the debate is Michael Farmer. He is statewide field director for the gay rights group Equality Florida. Farmer said gay members should not have to hide their sexual orientation.
"You are asking them to lie about who they are, and I think that's wrong," he said, adding that gay scouts are not a threat to anyone. "I was a boy scout for years and years. I was a life scout there. Thousands of gay scouts all over the country have been participating in the program for years and years."
Farmer has a message to people who think openly gay scouts should be accepted for who they are. "If they oppose discrimination, and they think a boy scout should be able to be part of this great American organization, openly and honestly, they should make sure they make their voices heard."
The Boy Scouts of America National Council is expected to vote on this important resolution next Thursday evening, at their national convention outside of Dallas.