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Boy Scouts consider lifting gay-ban

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The Boy Scouts are considering dropping their decades old ban on gay members.  The boys scouts have strong ties to many religious organization.   The Church of Latter Day Saints, or Mormon Church has the most members who are Scouts.

EvanClayson grew up in a very devout Mormon family.

"Growing up Mormon and gay can be pretty tough," he said.

And doing it while participating in the Boy Scouts of America, a group with a strict  "No Gays rule" can be even tougher.

A major policy change could put an end to that rule as early as next week,allowing openly gay scouts and leaders to join units across the nation for the very first time. It wasn't an option for Clayson who, like all six of his brothers, was an Eagle scout.

"I'm very proud of my Eagle award, and I think my orientation had no effect on it, on my ability to earn it," he said.  "But at the same time, I'm a little bit ashamed because I (didn't) follow all of the scout oath, for example, in order to earn that badge."  'That badge' has long been associated with faith based groups.


Nearly 70 percent of Boy Scout units in the nation are chartered to religious groups, and the LDS, or Mormon, church has the largest presence. More than 420 thousand members are in the boy scouts.


The LDS church is also the organization's biggest sponsor in terms of money, calling many to wonder what this change in policy will mean to the church.

"I think removing the policy is in line with their viewpoints today," Clayson said. "The LDS church says, yes you can be gay.  You just can't act on your feelings.  The Boy Scout policy is if you're gay you can't be a Boy Scout."


Leaders for the LDS church will not comment on the proposed changes until theBoy Scouts make it official.

But religion aside, not everyone agrees. Rob Schwarzwalder is a Boy Scout father and works with the Family Research Council. "I do not want homosexual men to be role models for sons,"Schwarzwalder said." (It has) nothing to do with hate.  It has to do with moral conviction."

If approved,  the Boy Scouts local governing councils would get to individually decide whether to accept openly gays members and volunteers.


Ed Whelan, with the Ethics and Public Policy Institute, takes issue with that part of the plan.
"That just leads to chaos because you have all these troops and councils coming together at summer camps (and) at high adventures," he said. "So inevitable it's going to intermix."

"Right now, sexual orientation is an issue in scouting," Clayson said.  "With the removal of this policy, it's not going to be an issue. I love the Boy Scouts.  I think it's a great organization, but not every organization is perfect. And I want every boy, regardless of sexual orientation, to be able to participate in the scouting program.

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