Gay youth officially allowed to join Boy Scouts of America

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - After 103 years the Boy Scouts of America is opening its doors to young gays. Last May 61% of the scout’s national leadership said it was time to stop the ban on homosexual boys.


Wayne Brock, Chief Executive of Boy Scouts of America said, "No matter how you feel about this issue, kids are better off in scouting.


That's how Peter Brownstein felt as well, but this former Utah scout master says speaking out on the issue cost him his troop.


"The chartering organization of our troop decided that they would like to suspend the operations of our troop based on my speaking out vocally on the subject and the need to include gays in the scouts,” said Brownstein.


Just after the Boy Scouts of America voted in May the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released this statement saying: “Sexual orientation has not previously been, and is not now, a disqualifying factor for boys who want to join Latter-day Saints scout troops. Willingness to abide by standards of behavior continues to be our compelling interest.”


While Brownstein recognizes the need for equality he tells ABC 4 Utah the biggest reason he spoke out on the BSA's need to be more inclusive was because the organization was going to die without it.


Brownstein said, "Those policies of the BSA have kept people out of that program."


As of today that has changed now that all boys can take part in the Boy Scouts of America.


"It's a wonderful program,” said Brownstein. “It teaches self sufficiency, teaches independence, teaches working with others, teaches helping other people at all times, and those are all values the more people can share in the better."


Openly gay troop leaders are still not allowed in the Boy Scouts of America, but that could one day change as well. The same man who helped do away with the U.S military's “Don't Ask Don't Tell” policy, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, will soon be taking over as the President of the Boy Scouts of America.

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