The change nevertheless caused tension. The leaders of the Orem-based The Utah National Parks Council, which serves about 90,000 Scouts south of Salt Lake County, said last month they were facing staff layoffs after donations dropped substantially.
Barnes said he’s heard concerns about the end of the blanket ban, but the revisions to the Scouting Code of Conduct and new troop applications made public Monday reinforce the organization’s commitment to its core tenets.
The revised rules also require prospective troop organizers to confirm that leaders haven’t been convicted of abuse or other offenses, and to pledge that religious faith will be a guiding principle for their troops.
“Some people think that we’ve caved in our values, but we haven’t,” he said. “We’re not going to judge them on a label, we’re going to judge them on their behavior.”
Lawrence said that he was happy to sign off on the faith pledge for his proposed troop. “We want to bring in all faiths and all religions,” he said.
He expects a denial based on a different rule, one that bans political advocacy or troops chartered by single-issue groups. Restore Our Humanity, which Lawrence founded to press for the legalization of gay marriage in Utah, doesn’t fit that description, he said. If the group is denied, Lawrence said he’d consider legal action.
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