Mormon church reconsidering 100-year association with Boy Scouts over gay adults

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Following a landmark decision by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) yesterday to allow gay adult leaders, the Mormon church has said it is reconsidering its association with the organisation.

The BSA’s national executive board on Monday ratified a decision made earlier this year to lift its blanket ban on gay scout leaders.

The lifting of the ban takes immediate effect as 79 percent of the board gave approval, concluding that the policy “was no longer legally defensible.”

While the ban means any troop can choose to allow or ban gay scout leaders, and is hailed as a huge step forward for the organisation, some have said it does not go far enough.

The Mormon church on Monday evening released a statement saying it was “deeply troubled” by the vote, and accused the BSA of holding a vote at a time when church leaders could not be consulted.

The statement read: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is deeply troubled by today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. In spite of a request to delay the vote, it was scheduled at a time in July when members of the Church’s governing councils are out of their offices and do not meet. When the leadership of the Church resumes its regular schedule of meetings in August, the century-long association with Scouting will need to be examined. The Church has always welcomed all boys to its Scouting units regardless of sexual orientation. However, the admission of openly gay leaders is inconsistent with the doctrines of the Church and what have traditionally been the values of the Boy Scouts of America.

“As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available. Those worldwide needs combined with this vote by the BSA National Executive Board will be carefully reviewed by the leaders of the Church in the weeks ahead,” it went on.

According to the BSA, the Church of the Latter Day Saints was in 2010 responsible for 412,720 boy scouts, including cub scouts and venturers, across 37,928 troops.

The organisations became associated in 1913.