"... we do not believe a chartered partner relationship is beneficial to Scouting."
GayRVA Staff | April 2, 2013
The controversy over whether or not to allow gay members to join or lead Boy Scouts Of America troops has surfaced again, this time in Utah. The Boy Scouts’ Great Salt Lake Council was recently faced with the proposition of a new troop funded by the Utah Pride Center, an activist group that supports the local for gay and lesbian community.
The Great Salt Lake Council, after referring back to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters, came to the conclusion that they would not allow the Utah Pride Center to fund or house the group.
BSA struck down the proposal, saying that their ethics didn’t allow for a compatible partnership. “Based on the mission of the [Utah Pride Center], we do not believe a chartered partner relationship is beneficial to Scouting,” BSA public relations director Deron Smith told the Associated Press.
This decision comes a month before the BSA is expected to vote officially on whether or not to keep it’s standing policy of gay exclusion. The vote will decide the BSA’s official stance on gay membership, and look at the option of leaving the decision up to individual troops.
Nile Eatmon, a member of the Salt Lake City council, had committed to lead the new troop, saying he doesn’t see gay membership as a conflict with the scouts mission, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. The group had 10 boys willing to participate, all of which identified as straight.
The Boy Scouts have been distributing thousands of questionnaires to many of their members to get a public opinion on the matter. According to the most recent feedback, members of the Salt Lake City Boy Scouts are predominately opposed to lifting bans on gay membership by a ratio of four to five.
The Boy Scouts of America seeks help from churches and other community organizations to sponsor and house their troops. Currently, the Church of Latter Day Saints is one of the biggest sponsors of the BSA in Utah. This decision to deny the Utah Pride Center the chance to fund a Boy Scout Troop could be indicative of how the BSA will vote on this issue.
The 1400 member committee will come to a conclusion about the matter sometime in the beginning of May.