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December 17, 2015

Boy Scouts Revise Troop Rules to Ban Political Advocacy

The Boy Scouts of America adopted regulations last week barring political advocacy and chartering of troops backed by single-issue organizations, the Associated Press reports. A pro-marriage-equality group in Utah, which applied in September to sponsor a Scouts troop with gay leaders, said it expects to be turned down based on the new rules.

The revisions to Scouts' Code of Conduct also include a pledge that prospective troops emphasize a duty to God. Rick Barnes, head of the Scouts' Great Salt Lake Council, said the new rules show the organization's core tenets remain intact after a year in which it lifted a ban on gay employees and volunteers. "Some people think that we've caved in our values, but we haven't," he said.

Mark Lawrence, director of same-sex-marriage advocacy group Restore Our Humanity, said his group's prospective troop will likely not qualify under the new rules. Speculating on the reason for the change, he said, "I don't think [the Boy Scouts] expected a bunch of new charter applications to come" from gay-rights groups.