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Scouts Endorse More Open Membership Policy

Grand Teton Council

National Boy Scouts of America Thursday approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The vote endorsed the resolution which also emphasized that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration and so the original policy for adults remains in place. Grand Teton Council Chief Scout Executive Clarke Farrer says the newly passed policy really changes little here.  In Farrer’s words, “I think that once the media attention and all the “dust” around this issue settles down, I think things will move forward with little to no change in the actual operations of scouting.”  He says the organization has always known that there have been youth and adult members that have related questions or leanings.  He says the issue has been approached as a “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation, but the resolution that was passed includes wording that prohibits sexual behaviors, be they heterosexual or homosexual to be allowed in the scout setting.  Furthermore, Farrer says no advocating of political or social agendas is allowed under this new policy. The policy change becomes effective January first, 2014.

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