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Gay Eagle Scout Speaks Out on Mormons and Boy Scouts

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AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File
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In this June 8, 2014, file photo, a group of Boy Scouts march during the Salt Lake City’s annual gay pride parade, in Salt Lake City.

Zach Sorenson is an Eagle Scout. He’s a student at Stanford University, where he studies public policy and computer science. He’s Mormon. And he’s gay.

After the Boy Scouts of America decided this past July to allow LGBT people to be Scout leaders, the Mormon Church balked. Some thought the Church – which sponsors a third of all Boy Scout troops in this country – would leave Scouting.

In August, Sorenson wrote an article in Slate Magazine urging the Mormon Church not to disassociate itself from the Boy Scouts. Perhaps because of his article, or perhaps because of other forces, the Church announced a week later that it would go along with the Scouts’ new, somewhat inclusive policy. That policy, though, still allows individual troops to discriminate, according to their beliefs.

Sorenson isn't worried about that. He thinks it's just a matter of time, and a matter of people within the Church getting to know LGBT people. 

"I know the Boy Scouts and the Mormon Church are both old, large institutions that take a long time to change," Sorenson said.

He does worry about the possibility of the LDS Church leaving Scouting altogether. A statement issued by the Church ended with the sentence:

With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.

While Sorenson says Scouting would suffer for the loss of such a large patron as the Mormon Church, he points out that the Boy Scouts only serve...well...boys, and that his sisters were very jealous of he and his brother as they tramped off camping and hiking.

Read the entire statement from the LDS Church here.

Zach Sorenson, writer and student

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)