After years of standing by its policy of remaining a straights-only organization, The Boy Scouts of America made headlines earlier in January when they said they'd consider lifting the ban on homosexual scouts and leaders. They made good on their word this month, when they sent out 1.1 million surveys to Boy Scout staff and leaders.
These surveys gauge how Boy Scout leaders feel about everything from gay scout parents to affiliations with pro-gay-rights churches.
Jason Pettis is one of the leaders who received the survey. He is a scoutmaster for Golden Troop 130, which is chartered by the First United Methodist Church of Golden. He says that his unit welcomes this reevaluation: "The national policy has been in place for a while, but at the local level a lot of times units, my unit as well, kind of looks at it and goes, 'You know that doesn’t quite sit with some of the ways that we feel.' So I’m glad they’re reaching out right now and trying to reconsider what’s going on with that policy."
The survey is a way for the national organization to gauge how scouts and scout leaders would feel and react to different scenarios that might arise from a policy change. Some examples of questions he was asked include, "A gay boy would like to join your unit, how would you feel about that? How would other boys potentially feel if they had to tent with this boy?"
Pettis believes that these questions are a precautionary measure designed to try to prevent any uncomfortable situations from arising. "I personally would not have a problem with that," he says of the survey questions, "and I hope that my troops wouldn’t have a problem with that either."