On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America voted on ceasing the ban on gay scout troop leaders. The vote approved the lifting of the ban that has long held reign in the century-old organization.
LGBT rights are a hot topic in any sector. But for the Boy Scouts of America it is particularly thorny. Monday’s vote brought ‘hurrays’ on the lips of many. Yet for the religious institutions supporting the boy scout packs and troops, it is unfathomable that troop leaders could be gay.
While former U.S. Defense Secretary and the President of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Gates stated for the AP:
“For too long this issue has divided and distracted us. Now it’s time to unite behind our shared belief in the extraordinary power of Scouting to be a force for good”.
Still, religious institutions supporting the organization are not at peace with the lift of the ban. Gay rights activists are also not at peace as Boy Scouts of America lifted the ban, yet did not impose that individual troops allow gay leaders.
It’s a murky situation that on the one hand has gained resentment of the churches sponsoring Boy Scout of America while on the other hand it has both angried and made gay right activists happy.
In response to the positive vote on lifting the ban on gay troop leaders, the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commented that it was:
“deeply troubled by the decision”.
According to official statements, the Church intends to form a separate organization with no ties to Boy Scouts of America and that would better reflect the traditional christian principles. As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is still a stark defender of the traditional marriage definition and fully restricts the access of the LGBT community from Church activities, the official stance was to be expected.
It might be problematic that religious institutions are turning their back on the century-old boys organization, as over 70 percent of the Boy Scouts units are funded through sponsorship by these institutions.
Methodist and Mormon churches are the most involved in the support of Boy Scout units. Now, according to a statement from the Mormon Salt Lake headquarters:
“The admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America”.
Arguably, the positive vote of the Boy Scouts of America organization on lifting the ban on gay troop leaders is a small battle won for gay rights activists. Scouts for Equality that spearheaded the anti-discrimination campaign in the Boy Scouts of America agrees that it is a building stone for the normalization of gay rights in the boys organization.
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