It would seem that the Boy Scout's discriminatory policies do not end with scouts and troop leaders but extend to sponsors as well. The BSA national council has rejected the proposal of a new troop in Utah that would have been sponsored by the Utah Pride Center. Every proposed scout and leader was straight, and the proposed troop leaders involved a rabbi and a reverend, but the proposal was still turned down. Additionally, the Center's proposed troop committee included members of the Jewish, Catholic and Latter-Day-Saint community, as well as Eagle Scout parents. Still not good enough. The leader of the troop would have been Great Salt Lake Council (BSA) member Nile Eatmon – a wonderful example of commitment to scouting. It would have been an ideal troop but the BSA denied the 10 middle-school-age kids the opportunity to participate in the Boy Scouts.
It should be noted that the United Church of Christ, the most LGBT-affirming religious organization in the country and one whose views on LGBT issues align perfectly with groups like the Utah Pride Center, sponsors nearly 1,200 scouting units and more than 38,000 scouts in the U.S.
Peter Brownstein, a leader for another troop in Salt Lake City and member of the proposed troop committee, thinks that a troop sponsored by the Utah Pride Center would allow more boys, whose parents are opposed to the BSA's ban, to join.
"I sincerely believe that the current Scout policy is a barrier, and without it, more young men would otherwise be able to benefit from a great program," Brownstein said.
While the BSA says that the results of a recent survey indicate that the boy scouts would lose membership if it revoked the ban, Brownstein and others believe that the Boy Scouts are missing out, not only on gay members and leaders, but allies as well. Last April, a board member for the Ohio River Valley Council of the BSA, David J. Sims, resigned in support of Jen Tyrell, who was ousted as leader of her son's Boy Scout troop because she is a lesbian.
There seems to be some passing around of the responsibilities for denying this troops application within the BSA. Great Salt Lake Council executive Rick Barnes, forwarded the application on to the national office, where it was denied, according to Barnes. The Utah Pride center has said that it understands and accepts the BSA's "don't ask, don't tell" gay policy and sexuality would not be a topic of discussion in the troop.
The Utah Pride center has a petition asking the Boy Scouts to revoke their ban.
To get involved with GLAAD's work to get the BSA to revoke their ban visiting our scouts page.