Attempting to reach the parents of boys turned off by the Boy Scouts of America’s gay ban, a group of non-gay church and Scout leaders proposed creating a troop sponsored by the Utah Pride Center.
The applicants all asserted that they were “open” and “avowed” heterosexuals, in keeping with Scouting policy, but the BSA was having none of it.
“The BSA is engaged in an internal discussion about its membership standards policy and is working to stay focused on Scouting’s mission,” the Boy Scouts’ PR director Deron Smith said in an email to The Salt Lake Tribune. “Based on the mission of the [Utah Pride Center], we do not believe a chartered partner relationship is beneficial to Scouting.”
The applicants said applying with the backing of the Utah Pride Center was not a stunt and included the names of ten middle-school-age children who wanted to join.
Some of the applicants were “surprised” that they were rejected — “All the adult members and youth that were submitted with the application were straight,” said one in disbelief. However, Peter Brownstein, a troop leader in Salt Lake City, seemed more disappointed than anything.
“I sincerely believe that the current Scout policy is a barrier, and without it, more young men would otherwise be able to benefit from a great program,” Brownstein said, “and [I] look forward to the future when more young men will be able to benefit.”
The BSA is expected to announce their ruling on the ban in May.