Donations drop for Scouts in Utah after gay leader decision

The changes in the church handbook were sent out Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015, to local church leaders around the world. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — One of the largest Boy Scout councils in the country is laying off employees because donations are down, possibly a side effect of this summer's tension between the Scouts and the Mormon church.

The Utah National Parks Council, which serves Scouts south of Salt Lake County, is about halfway through its fall fundraising drive. Council president Stan Lockhart says preliminary data shows a substantial drop in donations.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the nation's largest sponsor of Boy Scout units. The church said it was troubled with the July decision to rescind a national ban on gay Scout leaders, but ultimately decided to stay with the Scouts.

Lockhart believes that ambivalence confused some people. He says more than 99 percent of troops in his council are chartered by the church.

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The Gayly - 11/15/2015 @ 8:12 a.m. CST