Restore Our Humanity, the LGBT human rights group based in Utah has agreed to sponsor a new openly LGBT friendly Boy Scout troop in Salt Lake City.
Following the Boy Scouts of America's decision last week that opened the door to gay troop leaders, a local group of LGBT activists, former scouts, and faith leaders say they’re preparing an application to become a charted troop.
“Our scout troop will be built upon a progressive, non-denominational, open, affirming, inclusive policy,” says Mark Lawrence, director of Restore Our Humanity. He says there are a significant number of young people in Utah who could benefit from an inclusive troop. They’re now asking the public for volunteers, including merit badge councilors, clergy and troop committee members. Peter Brownstein is a former scout leader and scouting advocate.
“There are some wonderful, experienced people who have worked in scouting who have motivated young men into doing great things,” Brownstein says. “We hope those folks who have become disenchanted with the program will again step forward and become part of this.”
They say the troop will offer the same activities as other scout troops have historically, but the focus on religious activities will be minimal. The BSA officially forbids non-believers from participation in scouting.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently said in light of the new rules on gay leaders it’s reevaluating its association with the BSA. The LDS church uses scouting as its official program for young Mormon boys.
The Great Salt Lake Council was not available for comment on Tuesday.