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July 29, 2015

Mormon Church to Consider Severing Ties With Boy Scouts

Senior officials with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are expected to meet in August to consider severing a century-long connection  with the Boy Scouts of America over the youth organization's decision to allow openly gay employees and troop leaders, The New York Times writes. The church is the largest sponsor of Boy Scout units, accounting for one in five scouting participants. Mormon boys are automatically enrolled in Cub Scouts at the age of 8.

In voting Monday to end the gay ban, the Boy Scouts' national board allowed an exception for faith-affiliated troops, which may still take sexual orientation into account in choosing volunteer leaders. The compromise appeared to satisfy the Roman Catholic and United Methodist churches, which account for nearly a quarter of the 2.4 million Boy Scouts nationwide.

The Mormon Church has not taken firm action yet because its top leaders generally take time off to be with their families in July. Church leaders have cited two reasons to consider cutting ties with the Boy Scouts: concern that faith-based troops could still face discrimination suits for barring gays, and the possibility of creating a separate church-run program for Mormon boys.