By Zach Wahls
As Mormon Church Endorses Nationwide Employment Protections for LGBT Americans, Pressure Builds on Boy Scouts of America to End Gay Ban
On 27, Jan 2015 | In Campaign News | By Zach Wahls
Today, in response to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ announcement that it would support anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT employees, Scouts for Equality called on the Boy Scouts of America to end its decades-old ban on gay employees and adult members.It is deeply significant that the Mormon Church, a dominant voice in the American Scouting movement, is clarifying its position on LGBT rights just two weeks ahead of the BSA’s annual “Scout Sunday.”
“We’re optimistic that today’s announcement will demonstrate to the leadership of the Boy Scouts that their discriminatory policy of barring LGBT adults is out of step with people of faith all across the religious spectrum,” said Eagle Scout and Scouts for Equality co-founder Zach Wahls. “We hope that the Church communicates its values and expectations to the organizations it works with and supports, including the Boy Scouts of America, which should follow suit and end its long-standing ban on gay employees and adults.”
“This is not about gays versus God,” continued Wahls. The vast majority of Christian denominations including the Evangelical Lutheran Church Association, the Episcopal Church, the Catholic Church, and the United Church of Christ welcome LGBT worshippers as God’s children and many have endorsed some form of legal protections for LGBT Americans.
The Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a long relationship. The Mormon Church is the only religious organization in the country to adopt the Scouting program as an official youth program. According to the Boy Scouts of America, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sponsors about 38,000 Scouting units and a total of 437,000 youth members nationwide.
“The Mormon Church enjoys a unique role in the Boy Scouts of America, and this decision could prove to be a watershed moment,” continued Wahls. “For years, the Mormon Church has stood in the way of progress for LGBT Americans, and we’re glad to see that they appear to be re-evaluating that position.”
In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted 62% to 38% to end its decades-old ban on gay youth, but left in place its ban on gay adults. The Mormon church praised that decision.