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Former Boy Scout Leader Starting Gay-friendly Troop in Salt Lake City

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The Boy Scouts of America’s decision Monday to do away with its ban on gay scout leaders has prompted the creation of a gay-friendly Boy Scout troop in Salt Lake City.

Drew Reese has a long history with the Boy Scouts but says he was never open about his sexuality because the organization prohibited gay scouts and leaders from participating.

 “For the first time there will be a fully inclusive Troop in The Great Salt Lake Council and there’s nothing that they can do to prevent that from happening,” Reese says.

Reese is forming a scout troop in Salt Lake City that accepts all boys and men into the program regardless of their sexual orientation. The Great Salt Lake Council had previously denied charters for such an organization. The council did not respond to a request for comment.

“Now that those doors are open, people like myself will have an opportunity to give back to this program that has given us so much when we were growing up,” Reese says.

The policy says chartering organizations like the LDS Church, can maintain guidelines for their adult leaders. But Derek Monson with the conservative think tank Sutherland Institute worries a judge could interpret the policy differently. 

“Eventually the lawsuits are going to come and we’ll have to see if this policy is legally valid or if the courts are going to say no you cannot maintain your identity as a religious organization or religious believer in sexual morality if the national BSA doesn’t maintain that same kind of policy,” Monson says.

The LDS Church released a statement saying in light of the change, its century-long association with the Scouting will need to be examined. 

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