Salt Lake-area BSA survey shows 83 percent oppose gays in scouts
SALT LAKE CITY — The Boy Scouts of America have a longstanding policy of excluding openly gay leaders and scouts. Survey results are now in for the Great Salt Lake Council and it shows an overwhelming majority want the policy to stay the same.
BSA has sent more than one million surveys to scout leaders, volunteers, parents and scouts over age 16 asking for their opinions after increased pressure to change the policy.
The Great Salt Lake Council sent its survey out March 6th and so far 46-hundred people have responded.
“I have two kids in scouts, used to be a scout master and am a volunteer right now so I received the survey in the mail,” said Boy Scout volunteer Shawn Brown.
Nearly 83-percent do not want the ban on gay leaders and scouts lifted.
Brown is among the 14-percent who support changing the policy. He also feels there could be an alternative.
“Just saying flat out, ‘We’re not gonna let homosexuals in,’ I think it should be left up to the individual councils,” said Brown.
“It is an awkward situation,” said Scouting Executive Rick Barnes with the Great Salt Lake Council.
Nationally, the BSA has been feeling pressure from all sides. From celebrities like Madonna calling the policy ‘stupid’ to corporate sponsors pulling funding because the BSA policy conflicts with company discrimination policies.
In Salt Lake City, Chipotle Mexican Grill pulled its sponsorship. Winger’s restaurant has since stepped in to fill the void.
To Scouting executive Rick Barnes, “We have the right as a private membership organization to set the membership standards to believe the way we want to believe.”
When asked whether a change in membership standards would affect involvement in scouting, nearly 23 percent of those surveyed said they would be less involved and another 47 percent said they would not be involved at all.
Those survey results will be sent to the national BSA which could result on whether to draft a resolution to lift the ban by April 17th. If drafted, that resolution would go before the BSA at a national meeting in May.
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