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LGBT rights group submits application for BSA charter

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Posted at 8:30 PM, Aug 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-04 22:30:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The group that brought you same-sex marriage in Utah has a sequel in mind: a new Boy Scout Troop encouraging diversity in religion, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

LGBT rights group Restore Our Humanity wants to join the Boy Scouts.

"Restore Our Humanity has elected to take the first step to sponsor a new scouting troop to provide the backing to begin a new chapter of the Boy Scouts in

Utah," said the group's director, Mark Lawrence.

July 27, the Boy Scouts of America executive committee adopted a policy allowing chartered organizations to choose gay leaders.

The decision is not expected to change leadership in most of Utah's scout troops, the vast majority run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But the decision opens the possibility of troops that operate differently from what has become the norm.

The Director of the Great Salt Lake Council provided FOX 13 News with a statement suggesting they are open to the application.

"We appreciate Restore Our Humanity's interest in chartering a Boy Scout unit.  Over our entire history the Boy Scouts of America have always served all youth in our programs. The Great Salt Lake Council will have to submit this application to our national BSA office for approval," wrote Council director Rick Barnes.

"We will be looking for folks from diverse religious beliefs, diverse backgrounds," said Peter Brownstein, a father supporting the application.

Brownstein said he has a traditional, straight family, and his son Michael is not gay. But he and his son say it's important to them to belong to a troop that is open to gay members. For them, the search for inclusive troops began because they are Jewish and they didn't want to join a troop that was run from another faith's perspective.

"So long as there's an all-inclusive troop, I don't exactly care who sponsors it," said 16-year-old Michael Brownstein, who is an Eagle Scout and wore a sash festooned with dozens of merit badges.