Boy Scouts proposes lifting ban on gay scouts, not leaders

The Boy Scouts of America National Executive Committee has proposed a resolution that would allow gay scouts, but maintains the ban on gay scout leaders.

“The National Executive Committee is asking its approximately 1,400 voting members to consider a proposed resolution that would remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone and would maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America,” the committee released in a statement.

Utah scout leaders have not determined what their reaction will be.

“The Great Salt Lake Council executive board will be meeting to discuss the proposed Membership Standards change,” said Rick Barnes, scout executive of the Great Salt Lake Council.

The local council has been at the forefront of the fight against allowing gay scouts or leaders.

“Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” the introduction to the proposed resolution states. “[T]he Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda.”

The resolution reads:

Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.

The standards change would become effective Jan. 1, 2014.

The current standard regarding sexual orientation for adult leaders is, “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”

The proposed resolution makes no change to that standard.

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