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Boy Scouts: Utah gay pride center can't sponsor troop
by NWP
April 2, 2013 at 5:18 AM

Boy Scouts: Utah gay pride center can't sponsor troop

Tim Sharp/Reuters file

A statue of a Scout stands at the entrance to the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas.

The Boy Scouts of America said Monday that the Utah Pride Center — a LGBT advocacy group — could not charter a troop, even though the group said it would comply with the youth organization's controversial policy banning gay Scouts and leaders.

The Utah Pride Center submitted its application in late February to sponsor a troop with heterosexual leaders and middle-school age boys several weeks ago, said Valerie Larabee, the center's executive director. She said the bid, which comes ahead of the BSA vote in May on whether it should keep the ban, was not a stunt.



"We feel great concern for youth that may be involved in Scouting right now that are hiding something and we don’t ask our kids when they come to our campus here whether they are gay, straight or anything else," she told NBC News by phone. "We assume that they're here because they think this is a safe place and as a safe place we think that we can offer an incredible opportunity to young people who want to be involved in BSA."

Larabee said they submitted their application to Rick Barnes, the chief executive officer of the Great Salt Lake Council. Barnes referred questions to the BSA headquarters, "since this was a national decision."

When contacted for comment on who had reviewed the application and why it was rejected, the BSA said in a two-sentence statement: "The BSA is engaged in an internal discussion about its membership standards policy and is working to stay focused on Scouting’s mission. Based on the mission of this organization [the Utah Pride Center] we do not believe a chartered partner relationship is beneficial to Scouting.”

Larabee said she knew their file was passed higher within the BSA, but did not know if it reached the national headquarters and said they'd had no response from the organization -- just that their application had been returned without remarks on March 4. The center took it as a denial.

"We are disappointed," she said. "It's almost like they don't even want to acknowledge that we even applied. It's like they just want us to go away." 

A call placed to a Boy Scout leader who The Salt Lake Tribune said would lead the new troop committee, Nile Eatmon, was not immediately returned. Eatmon, a member of the Great Salt Lake Council's executive board, told the newspaper that he didn't see a problem with the center hosting a troop.

"I was surprised. I thought the Pride Center application complied with the Boy Scouts’ policies," Eatmon said. "All the adult members and youth that were submitted with the application were straight."

Faith-based organizations, civic and educational groups often charter Boy Scout units, providing meeting facilities and leadership among other things. More than 70 percent of the Scouting unit in 2012 were chartered to faith-based organizations, and Larabee believed their application may be a first by a LGBT group, although the BSA did not respond to a question about that.

The BSA announced in late January that it may ditch the national policy banning gays, instead leaving that up to local sponsoring organizations to decide. It then pushed back a decision on the policy to May, when some 1,400 members of Scouting's National Council will vote on a resolution that Boy Scouts' officers are crafting.

The membership guidelines have roiled the organization in recent years.

Last July, the BSA said it was sticking with the ban following a confidential two-year review of the policy. That review was announced months after Jennifer Tyrrell was dismissed from her post as leader of her son’s Tiger Cubs den because she is a lesbian, and a few months before California teen Ryan Andresen was denied his Eagle award because he is gay.

Both cases made national headlines for several weeks, and led a few hundred Eagle Scouts to turn in their hard-earned regalia in protest of the ban, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2000.

Replies

  • Ziva65
    by Ziva65
    April 3, 2013 at 2:16 AM

    I don't know- seems to me they should allow it. We have Mormon troops, Baptist ones, Epicopalian ones, Rotary, Kiwanis, and some independant. Does is matter? They don't all agree on basic things anyway- even "duty to God" they will disagree with, as well as other "oath" type things.. I personally don't see the problem.

    That said, our troop will probably close because it is sponsored by a Lutheran Church, and once the vote in May goes through, it will close. They will be closed to new members, and close by December of this year as the Charter organization will no longer charter it Actually, it isn't directly because they don't support gay people in the troop- it is because of the litigation they expect as a result. People fully expect it to become open to transgendered kids, and girls. They anticipate litigation from both sides, and chartering organizations didn't go into to it pay for defense, they want to help kids. Rotary funds, church funds, etc, weren't intended to pay for attorney fees.

    I have one Eagle and two more almost done, then we are out. I think it should just become "Scouts of America" and forget all the rest. It's too restrictive as it is, it's not meant to be a church, or a pulpit or a means to make people feel bad about themselves. I think if churches want something in line with their beliefs, then create their own verson of scouts. The Seventh Day Adventists have, and others are following.

    Anyway, about the OP, perhaps they should just wait a few months until the BSA votes, and then apply. They will be losing charters right and left anyway. I don't see the point in pushing the issue now- unless there is some other agenda.

  • Ziva65
    by Ziva65
    April 3, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    So- maybe people here don't know. The BSA is voting in May on nationwide policies. It will likely be that each charter organization creates their own rule with regard to homosexual members, scouts or leaders. It deflects the decisionmaking, and litigation to a local level instead of a national level. Over 70% of those polled believe it should change to allow gays into the troop- that is of those that are left. A high percent have said they intend on leaving scouting once the policy changes, or go with a parallel organization. Either way, there will be something for everyone, without exclusion, and in line with their own beliefs.

    I find it interesting, as this is very prominent in BSA websites, and the news, that the timing of this organization wanting to charter occurs now. The policy itself hasn't changed. Is it to bring continued light to the issue? Is there some other agenda? If they wait another month, it is highly likely the vote will be brought to a local level, in which case they would have no challenge.

    Numerous troops will be losing their chartering organizations. Numerous churches are creating parallel organizations.

    I almost wonder if there is some other agenda, as the timing of this is a bit odd.

  • Ziva65
    by Ziva65
    April 3, 2013 at 3:23 AM

     

    There is a majog BSA vote coming up in May on this issue- it's been on the books for over half a year. While the timing is rather interesting, this will likely change.

    BTW, it has nothing to do with getting AIDS, nor has that ever even been brought up to my knowledge. It's about discriminaiton, and the cost of lawyers, litigation, etc.  plain and simple. I say that as a BSA leader for many years, and as a conservative born again Christian.

    Quoting Rhodin:

    Now, waitaminute.  There's another article about a troop getting booted out of the school that was hosting their meetings.  I realize they're afriad of getting TEH AIDS from sharing outhouse seats on camping trips, but I could certainly see a compromise looming here.


     

  • kailu1835
    April 3, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    And?  Boy scouts is a private religious organization.  They can pick and choose who sponsors them.

  • NWP
    by NWP
    April 3, 2013 at 8:02 AM
    Your point on the timing is noted, also the point about forming another organization. But I believe it will be the conservatives who take that route to avoid being inclusive. Conservatives have already done this with the GSA when they formed the pioneer girls.

    Quoting Ziva65:

    So- maybe people here don't know. The BSA is voting in May on nationwide policies. It will likely be that each charter organization creates their own rule with regard to homosexual members, scouts or leaders. It deflects the decisionmaking, and litigation to a local level instead of a national level. Over 70% of those polled believe it should change to allow gays into the troop- that is of those that are left. A high percent have said they intend on leaving scouting once the policy changes, or go with a parallel organization. Either way, there will be something for everyone, without exclusion, and in line with their own beliefs.


    I find it interesting, as this is very prominent in BSA websites, and the news, that the timing of this organization wanting to charter occurs now. The policy itself hasn't changed. Is it to bring continued light to the issue? Is there some other agenda? If they wait another month, it is highly likely the vote will be brought to a local level, in which case they would have no challenge.


    Numerous troops will be losing their chartering organizations. Numerous churches are creating parallel organizations.


    I almost wonder if there is some other agenda, as the timing of this is a bit odd.

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