The Boy Scouts of America has voted to change its policy on including gay youth. At a meeting in Grapevine, Texas 61-percent of the delegates from Scout councils across the country voted to support the change, which still bars gay adults from becoming Scout leaders. A delegate from Utah who says it was a very civil debate, even though there were strong feelings on both sides.
Ken Krogue is on the board of the Utah National Parks Council in Provo, the largest Boy Scout council in the state. Its 17 delegates decided before the meeting they would vote yes on the change in policy to allow gay youth members to participate in Scouting, although gay adults would still be excluded.
Krogue listened to a couple of hours of what he said was a well-reasoned and calm debate last night before he got up to speak himself.
“I felt strong to really applaud the process, the civility that went on," Krogue told KUER. "I noted that the issues were complex. And I felt strong that the Utah National Parks Council had come down in support of our primary charter partner, which is the LDS church.”
The church issued a statement last month saying the change in policy “constructively addresses” the issues confronting Scouting. In response to today's decision, the church said it would send letters to its congregations across the country to include a reaffirmation of the church's position and standards for participation in the Scout troops it sponsors.
Delegates from the Great Salt Lake Council were free to vote their conscience on the issue, and the vote was conducted using a secret ballot.
The Scouts’ annual meeting in Texas doesn’t end with the vote on this policy change. Krogue says there are many more issues to discuss and lots of training opportunities for the 14-hundred delegates from across the country.