March 13th, 2013
12:00 PM ET

Survey asks whether gay and straight Boy Scouts can share tent

By Ed Payne and Devon Sayers, CNN

(CNN) - The questions go to the heart of the issue, presenting scenarios some may find challenging.

The Boy Scouts of America, now considering a change in the group's longstanding policy against allowing openly gay members, has sent out a questionnaire that goes beyond a simple yes or no on the subject.

Among them: Is it acceptable for a gay scout and a straight scout to share a tent on an overnight camping trip?

The survey sent to leaders and parents includes five multiple-choice answers ranging from "totally acceptable" to "totally unacceptable."

Listening phase

In February, the Boy Scouts of America's national executive board postponed a vote on lifting its outright ban on openly homosexual scouts and troop leaders.

The decision will be made at the organization's annual meeting in May, where about 1,400 members of the group's national council will take part, the board said.

The organization said at the time that it would "further engage representatives of Scouting's membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns."

Read the survey (pdf)

The Boy Scouts said in a statement Tuesday that they're in the "listening phase" and are "reviewing a number of issues and how they will impact the BSA, including youth, chartered organizations, parents, and financial, fundraising, and legal concerns."

The questions

The survey's nine questions directly address those concerns and point to the complexities of the issues involved.

Here's one of the questions from the survey:

"David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teachers that homosexuality is wrong. Steven, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?"

Another question asks if a lesbian mom should be allowed to be den leader, if the church it's chartered to has no problem with homosexuality.

The issues are challenging for an organization that has many ties to organized religion, many of them conservative.

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