The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is endorsing a proposed policy change by the Boy Scouts of America that would let young gay men participate as members, but would still exclude gay adults from leadership positions. The current policy excludes both gay adults and youth.
The LDS church sponsors more Scout troops around the country than any other religious group. Stephen Hales, who serves on the board of the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts, says the change would allow young people to sort out their feelings about sexuality. He thinks the change will make the Scouting program stronger.
“At least in our council, which is the largest council in the United States," Hales tells KUER, "there’s just been a ground swell of support for the principle that Scouts are maintaining their focus on being morally straight and having a duty to God, and I think, if anything, it’s generated even more support.”
Charles Lynn Frost, who is trying to charter a Scout troop sponsored by the Utah Pride Center, doesn’t think it’ll stop the erosion of public support for Scouting.
“I think they’re going to have a hard time continuing to gain support from the general population with this sort of halfway approach," Hales says. "Y’know, we’ll let in young men, or the kids, but we’re certainly not going to let you in after 18 because you’re some sort of danger.”
The national board of the Boy Scouts of America plans to vote on the change on May 24th.