‘Gay-free alternative to the Boy Scouts’ honours vocal homophobe Tony Perkins

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An organisation set up as an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) after it voted to allow gay members, has honoured anti-gay pastor and campaigner Tony Perkins at an awards ceremony.

Over 1,200 disgruntled former BSA officials descended on Nashville, Tennessee last year, in order to launch a new, “Christian-based” alternative to the BSA. Despite denying that the organisation was anti-BSA, Trail Life USA was created following the BSA’s decision to life its ban on gay scouting members.

The organisation posted a photograph of its Board Chairman presenting Tony Perkins of the adamantly anti-gay Family Research Council, who has continually insisted that it is a “fact” that all gay people will go to hell.

The image caption read: “TLUSA Board Chairman John Stemberger presents Family Research Council President Tony Perkins with a copy of the inaugural Trail Life USA Handbook signed by the Board of Directors in front of 700 pastors in Washington DC.”

Back in May 2013, the national council of the BSA voted to lift the ban on openly gay youth members, with over 60% of the 1400 strong voting body backing the lifting of the ban.

The lifting of the ban officially took place on 1 January 2014.

There have so far been no large defections since lifting the ban, although controversy continues as the BSA retained a block on openly gay adult staff and volunteers.

Anti-gay US radio host Bryan Fischer commented on the launch of Trail Life USA, saying it was a “gay-free alternative to the Boy Scouts”.

Perkins last year voiced his disapproval at the Pentagon’s announcement that gay couples will be allowed leave to marry, if they live a certain distance from a state which legally recognises same-sex marriage.

He earlier in 2013 blamed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the US military ban on openly gay people serving, for suicides in the armed forces.

Previously, at the start of the US Supreme Court hearings around two equal marriage cases, Perkins claimed that the court ruling in favour of equal marriage could lead to “revolution”.