Brett Graham, vice president of fund development for the Great Salt Lake Council, said before the vote was taken that independent of the national council's decision, he hoped Thursday's meeting would provide some resolution on the issue.
The controversy surrounding the Boy Scouts' membership policies has taken away from the many good things happening in Scouting around the country, Graham said.
"This is a distracting issue," he said. "The reality is that this doesn't affect that many boys or that many leaders."
Graham, who did not participate in Thursday's vote, said he had not researched the proposal enough to have a position on it. But he said the Boy Scouts would move forward and continue to provide life skills training to the country's youths.
"In the end, we'll manage through it," he said. "The reality is, the good that is done with the Boy Scouts happens at the troop level. It doesn't happen at the national level."
Jason Dautel, a Salt Lake resident and Eagle Scout, started a petition on Change.org urging members of the Great Salt Lake Council to reject the Boy Scouts policy of denying membership to openly gay individuals.
The petition is one of more than 100 directed at local Scouting councils around the country, and Dautel, a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Salt Lake City needed its own petition due to the number of LDS Church-sponsored Scouting units in the state.
Dautel also said he was motivated to begin the petition — which gathered more than 1,500 signatures — after seeing the results of a survey conducted by the Great Salt Lake Council that showed widespread opposition to changing the membership policy among local Scouting leaders.
"I thought it was important that the Salt Lake Council hear that not everybody agrees with that," he said.
Dautel said the decision to allow all youths to participate in Scouting is an important step toward total participation by gay individuals. But he said the continued exclusion of openly gay adults sends a dangerous message that gay Scouts are no longer welcome in the organization when they turn 18.
In the statement released by the national Scouting organization, officials suggested it is unlikely that further changes will be made in the near future.
"The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter."
Rick Barnes, scout executive for the Great Salt Lake Council, said local leaders remain focused on providing the nation's foremost program of character development and values-based leadership training to Utah's youth.
"I believe this update to our policy will allow all kids who sincerely want to be a part of Scouting to experience this life-changing program while remaining true to the long-standing virtues of Scouting," he said in a prepared statement. "We believe good people can disagree and still work together to accomplish great things for youth. Going forward, we will work to stay focused on that which unites us."
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