SALT LAKE CITY — Ahead of a looming decision on possible reform, the Boy Scouts of America is sending out a survey to gauge people's attitudes about the organization accepting gays into its troops.
In February, the BSA decided to postpone their vote on whether or not they should admit gays into the scouting program. Traditionally, gay men and boys have been excluded from the organization. Now, BSA is trying to find out how 1.1 million parents and leaders feel about the issue with an emailed survey.
The survey, sent out to volunteers and leaders, gauges people's attitudes about various hypothetical situations involving gay scouts. For example: Is it acceptable or unacceptable for a gay Scout to tent with a heterosexual boy during a camping trip? Many similar questions make up the survey.
"I think it's a very Scout-oriented way to get everyone involved, be very open, honest," said Utah National Parks Council District Director John Gailey.
The Utah council pushed for a closer look at the needs of each council and the attitudes of parents and volunteers within them. This survey, they feel, moves that discussion forward.
"The objective was to do exactly this — let's spend some time to talk to those who are partnering with us," Gailey said.
Something that is complicating things for the Scouts is that there's no real definite alternative out there; it's simply deciding whether to change the Scouts' long-standing ban. A decision is expected to be made at a national meeting in May.