Mormon Church OKs Allowing Gay Scouts, Not Leaders

boyscoutslgThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has endorsed the Boy Scouts of America’s proposal to allow gay scouts to serve, though openly gay leaders will still be banned.

The BSA will submit its proposal to its National Council in Texas on May 20 and the Mormon Church’s support could signal adoption of the new policy. The Mormon Church, the BSA’s largest sponsor of scout troops, released the following statement on Thursday:

“Over the past several weeks BSA has undertaken the difficult task of reviewing its membership standards policy. In their own words, this undertaking has been ‘the most comprehensive listening exercise in its history.’

While the Church has not launched any campaign either to effect or prevent a policy change, we have followed the discussion and are satisfied that BSA has made a thoughtful, good-faith effort to address issues that, as they have said, remain ‘among the most complex and challenging issues facing the BSA and society today.’

The current BSA proposal constructively addresses a number of important issues that have been part of the ongoing dialogue, including consistent standards for all BSA partners, recognition that Scouting exists to serve and benefit youth rather than Scout leaders, a single standard of moral purity for youth in the program, and a renewed emphasis for Scouts to honor their duty to God.

We are grateful to BSA for their careful consideration of these issues. We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future.”

According to The New York Times, the Mormon Church sponsors 25% of all local Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups and accounts for 15% of the group’s 2.7 million members.

In the past, the church has threatened to sever ties with the BSA should it lift its gay ban. A recent poll found that 83% of Scout members, leaders and parents in the Mormon mecca of Salt Lake City objected to the proposed policy reversal. Therefore the church’s support may come as a surprise, but the LDS has been making attempts to become a more welcoming, gay-friendly organization.

Still, the BSA’s refusal to allow gay leaders has come under scrutiny from LGBT advocacy groups.

“The proposed end to the ban on gay Scouts is a big step forward, but the Boy Scouts of America can and should do better,” said the Family Equality Council. “Scouting has a long tradition of being a family activity and it should be open to all our families.”

GLAAD VP of Communications Rich Ferraro echoed those sentiments, stating that “the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy. We’re living in a culture where, until every young person and parent have the same opportunity to serve, the Boy Scouts will continue to see a decline in both membership and donations.”

But the Scouts cite membership decline as its reason for maintaining the ban on gay leaders. Scouting executives claim that after extensive surveys and discussions, the leadership question drew particular resistance — estimating that they could lose 100,000 to 350,000 members as a result.

Sounds like a great way to take out the trash, though we’re assuming the BSA didn’t take into account the number of families — LGBT and otherwise — who might join its ranks without that pesky and discriminatory ban.

Meanwhile, ousted Scouting leader and mom Jennifer Tyrell has a petition on calling for the Boy Scouts to be completely inclusionary.

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    Fuck the Mormons, or I should say Morons! after all they are Christian and should be treat as a mental patients. How long we going to suffer from the world #1 enemy Christianity?. AdamHomo

  • Dakotahgeo

    I am soooo proud of those Mormons… they’ve finally found a heart. Equality? Justice? Conscience? This cult isn’t even out of the starting gate, much less have a clue where it is. Fail! Big time!

  • Dionte


  • Caliban

    Well this stays true to the dictum, “If the Mormon church is for it, it must really really suck.”

    THE most important issue in the Boy Scouts flap is that gay kids who have been with the organization since childhood not be kicked out or denied awards or merits they’ve earned, such their Eagle Scout pin. And this policy is progress on that front at least. Unfortunately forbidding gay parents and other adults from being involved in Scouting reinforces the idea that gays are a threat to children so it still sends a bad message to gay Scouts and the public.

    IF this policy passes hopefully it will just be a first step. There are Scout troops that are NOT full of religious ideologues (Mormon or Catholic) and the problems with this policy will soon become apparent.

  • jamesbarnette

    I used to live around a bunch of Mormons. The men were full-on pretty boys and totally gay. It’s no wonder they’re so homophobic.

  • marc sfe

    @jamesbarnette: Yeah they are – have had quite a few of those on their back, legs in the air when I’ve visited SLC —

  • JT Hawkins

    @Caliban: Well said. I also worry about the message it sends to children that it’s not proper for them to be an openly gay adult. Finny, though, I wonder how many of the men in the BSA’s “perversion files” identify as straight? Probably the vast majority of them.

  • Caliban

    @JT Hawkins Since the BSA has long been unwelcoming to gays I suspect ALL or nearly all of the sexual predators in their “perversion files” identify as straight. Studies show that as a general rule self-identified gay men are rarely child molesters. There’s actually a very good and logical reason for this. Openly gay men have already told you what they’re interested in, other consenting adults of the same gender. But due to erroneous stereotypes parents tend to be more watchful, pay more attention to their children’s interactions with gay men. In order to get close to their prey pedophiles must present as benign and “safe” a facade possible in order to gain parents’ trust, so identifying as gay is an unsuccessful “hunting” strategy for a child abuser. (In fact most abusers are family members or family friends, giving them access.) Which isn’t to say it NEVER happens, but that it’s comparatively rare.

    Parents have far more to fear from the married guy down the street, who may have kids of his own, who is “so good with kids” and sets up situations where he spends a lot of time with them, particularly time alone. Sandusky was a model of this kind of abuser, a married man seemingly concerned with child welfare to gain trust with parents but using that as a cover for his predatory activities. What is Sandusky’s “real” orientation? Whatever it is, he certainly never identified as anything other than a pillar of married heterosexual rectitude and would likely have been deeply offended if anyone had ever even suggested he was gay.

  • Cam

    “Therefore the church’s support may come as a surprise, but the LSD has been making attempts to become a more welcoming, gay-friendly organization.”

    Wow, so once again, Queerty makes sure to try to make it seem like the Mormon church is somehow getting gay friendly, AND you include a link to that phony site that the church has put up that is basically a hate-filled site telling people that they are evil but should keep on tithing to the church and become celibate and not every socialize.

    Why am I not surprised?

    As for the Boy Scout issue. So basically the Church wants kids to see that if they ever come out of the closet they won’t be allowed to have jobs in the organization because they are sinners and evil….sounds like the Church is doing what they always do.

  • hyhybt

    @Cam: I thought calling them “the LSD” was funny.

    The good thing in all this is that the new position is both difficult to move backwards from *and* untenable long-term. In addition to the immediate benefit of not tossing kids out of the program who want to be in it.

  • MK Ultra

    You are right on point about this.
    They say that gay men are a danger to children? Then how come most child sexual abuse takes place where openly gay men aren’t allowed?
    Take the Boy Scouts, for example. No gay men allowed there, so where do these endless “perversion files” come from?
    It would seem that most pedos are – white, straight identitfied, middle aged males, married to a women, has kids, but, and here are the defining features – hard core conservative social, religious, and political, and a tendency to blame others or point the finger at others. Religious cults, and mormonism is a prime example, are hotbeds of sexual abuse.
    Like the predator in the jungle, the human preadtor knows how to camoflauge and blend in to the enviroment they’ll least be suspected in.

  • sfsilver

    Undeniably this is good news for Gay kids….oh wait this is basically about trapping these kids in an organization that says they are evil if they ever express themselves sexually, ever. One thing to never stand about the Mormon Church is that everything is first and foremost about fellowshipping /missionary work and the contued indoctrination of current members. I don’t think it is progress at all for Gay kids especially
    If there will not be any gay role models for them, only leaders telling them they can never be fully worthy of inclusion unless they become eunuchs for Jesus. Sorry for typos but iPad editing on this forum sucks

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