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Ex-Defense Secretary Gates takes over Boy Scouts amid questions over gay troop leaders

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By Marice Richter

DALLAS (Reuters) – As former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is set to head the Boy Scouts of America, many are wondering if the official who helped end the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy will also lift the scout’s ban on gay adult leaders.

The century-old Texas-based organization kicked off its annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday as questions lingered over its decision last year to allow gay scouts in its ranks but bar them from adult leadership posts.

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Gates, a former CIA director, will succeed Boy Scouts President Wayne Perry, who led the group through the emotionally charged debate in May last year when the council voted to lift a ban on openly gay scouts, a decision criticized by both conservatives opposed to the change and gay rights groups for not going far enough.

Gay rights groups are optimistic that Gates, who will officially take his new post on Thursday, will end the ban on adult leaders.

Gates was secretary of defense from December 2006 to July 1, 2011, serving both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which barred openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons from military service, was repealed on December 22, 2010.

Gates’ appointment could prompt a return of major sponsors, such as Lockheed Martin Corp and Intel Corp, which pulled funding to protest policies seen as discriminatory.

“Secretary Gates already knows the dedication and professionalism of gay and lesbian military members, so bringing full inclusion to the Boy Scouts should be a no-brainer,” said Rich Ferraro, spokesman for the gay rights group, GLAAD.

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Gay scouts were officially allowed in from January 1., prompting some parents to pull their boys out of the organization.

A group of conservatives broke away and formed the start-up Trail Life USA, which condemns sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman as “sinful before God.”

On Wednesday, gay activists delivered a Change.org petition signed by 120,000 people to Amazon.com Inc asking the online retail giant to cut all ties to the Boy Scouts unless the group stops discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.

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(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Richard Chang)

[Image: Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks after being awarded the Liberty Medal at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sept. 22, 2011. By Tim Shaffer for Reuters]

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Miami-Dade cop relieved of duty after punching irate woman at Florida airport

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A bad situation turned worse, after a woman missed her flight at Miami International Airport. When police were called, things got even worse.

According to the Miami Herald, body-camera footage, which surfaced Wednesday evening, showed the officer hitting the woman yelling at him.

“You acting like you white when you really Black...what you want to do?” the woman without a mask says.

She then stepped very close to the officer, putting her face against his and that's when he struck her in the face.

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Appellate Judge says Mary Trump’s tell-all book can be released

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Yesterday, a judge paused Mary Trump's tell-all book on President Donald Trump and his family, but Wednesday evening, a New York appellate judge ruled that Simon & Schuster could move forward with releasing the book.

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Trump staff had an inquisition for healthcare workers for Tulsa rally — demanding to know if they leaked staff COVID story

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President Donald Trump was so incensed that the media learned of his staffers who caught COVID-19 in Tulsa, Oklahoma that he had a kind of inquisition for healthcare workers to investigate if they linked the story.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that those familiar to his reaction said that outside of the BOK center, Trump campaign staff were being tested before the event. When the information was released, they scrambled, quizzing who leaked the information about the positive cases.

Healthcare workers were "then given a different list of people to test, according to two people with direct knowledge of the events who, like others in this story, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal conversations," said the Post.

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