7.28.15: Boy Scout board approves end to blanket ban on gay adults
NEW YORK (AP) — The Boy Scouts of America’s top policy-making board has voted to end its ban on gay adult leaders while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to maintain the exclusion if that accords with their faith.
In 2013, the BSA decided to let openly gay boys become scouts. That prompted conservative Christians to launch Trail Life USA as a scouting alternative.
Several religious denominations that continue to sponsor large numbers of Boy Scout units — including the Roman Catholic church, the Mormon church and the Southern Baptist Convention — have been apprehensive about the BSA lifting its ban on gay adults. The Rev. Russell Moore, the Southern Baptists’ public policy chief, says he’s seen “a definite cooling on the part of Baptist churches toward the Scouts” Moore says, “This will probably bring that cooling to a freeze.”
The Boy Scouts’ top leaders have pledged to defend the right of any church-sponsored units to continue excluding gays as adult volunteers.
But Trail Life Chairman John Stemberger predicts that the new BSA policy will expose churches to discrimination lawsuits if they adhere to their faith’s teachings.