The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given tacit approval to the Boy Scouts' proposal to allow gay youth to join, saying they "appreciate the positive things" included in the plan to end the organization's controversial ban on gay boys.
The Boy Scouts of America last week proposed allowing gay youth - but not adults - to participate in the private youth organization. That came two months after they floated the idea of allowing gays and lesbians of all ages to join, a proposal that was denounced by the conservative religious groups that make up a bulk of Scouting.
"We are grateful to BSA for their careful consideration of these issues. We appreciate the positive things contained in this current proposal that will help build and strengthen the moral character and leadership skills of youth as we work together in the future," the LDS church said Thursday in a statement posted to their website.
"The current BSA proposal constructively addresses a number of important issues that have been part of the ongoing dialogue, including consistent standards for all BSA partners, recognition that Scouting exists to serve and benefit youth rather than Scout leaders, a single standard of moral purity for youth in the program, and a renewed emphasis for Scouts to honor their duty to God."
The Mormon church tops the list of membership enrollment numbers, with 431,000 youths participating in LDS-sponsored units as of Dec. 31, 2012. That was followed by the United Methodist Church at 364,000 and the Catholic Church at 274,000. More than 70 percent of Scouting units are chartered to faith-based groups.
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