SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - The Boy Scouts of America will review a resolution that would change their current policy to allow homosexuals as adult leaders.
The resolution was orginally submitted to Scout officials at the group's annual national meeting in Orlando, and since then has been backed by an online petition with more than 275,000 signers.
The petition was started by Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted as a Cub Scout leader for being gay. In her petition, Tyrrell states, "It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy of exclusivity against gay youth and leaders. Please sign this petition to call for an end of discrimination in an organization that is shaping the future."
Boy Scout leaders argue that under a 2000 Supreme Court ruling in their favor, their policy on gays is not discrimination. That policy states, "While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA."
"Don't join. It's that simple. If you don't like what we do, find someplace that does, or create your own," says Kay Godfrey, PR director for the BSA Great Salt Lake Council.
Even though the BSA organization traditionally supports conservative, faith-based values, several former Boy Scouts in Utah say allowing gay leaders wouldn't bother them.
" I think leadership ability doesn't come down to your sexual preference," says former Boy Scout Seth Waddoups.
However, many people are on the other side of the fence in Utah. They believe the current BSA policy should be upheld. "I think that with being a leader and having boys around you, you shouldn't be gay," says Utah mom Kelli Brklich.
Even though the BSA will take the resolution and petitions under consideration, a national spokesman says there's no expectation that the ban on gay leaders will be lifted anytime soon.