Christian Group Launches Anti-Gay Boy Scouts Alternative
More than 1,000 attendees -- among them former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and a George W. Bush impersonator -- came out this weekend for the inaugural conference for Trail Life USA: a Christian and anti-gay scouting group that intends to serve as an alternative to the Boy Scout program, CNN reports.
"Trail Life USA will be inclusive of boys, regardless of religion, race, national origin or socioeconomic status, and accept boys who are experiencing same-sex attractions or gender confusion," read a statement from Trail Life USA. "However, it will not admit youth who are open or avowed about their homosexuality, and it will not admit boys who are not ’biologically male’ or boys who wish to dress and act like girls."
According to the Huffington Post, the weekend conference, called "Honoring the Legacy, Raising the Standard" took place at the Sheraton City Music hotel and was sponsored by OnMyHonor, a splinter group that has long been an outspoken opponent of the Boy Scouts’ decision to repeal its ban on gay youth scout members.
After long-term efforts by activists seeking institutional reform, the Boy Scouts announced in May that they would be revising their membership criteria to eliminate the ban on openly gay youth Scout members. The BSA voted 61-38 to allow gay scouts, but gay Scout leaders are still prohibited from serving.
"There have been some organizations that have decided not to renew their charters with Scouting," BSA spokesman Deron Smith told CNN in May. "But we can’t quantify the impact of the amended policy."
At the time, some conservative churches that sponsored Scout units threatened to defect if the ban were lifted. But liberal Scout liberals made clear that they wanted the ban on gay adults lifted, as well.