With scouting manual in hand, Tennessee Republican senator Bill Frist revived his bid to lift restrictions on government ties with the Boy Scouts of America. In recent years, lawsuits from civil liberties groups over the organization's antigay policy have cut into Scouts' ties with the military and access to government-owned lands.
The Pentagon last year agreed to tell U.S. military bases around the world not to directly sponsor Boy Scout troops. That warning resulted from legal challenges to government relations with a group that bars openly gay leaders and compels members to swear an oath of duty to God. His bill, Frist said, would remove "any doubt that federal agencies may welcome scouts to hold meetings and go camping on federal property." A similar effort failed to gain any traction late in the last Congress. But Frist, a former scout and Republican leader of the Senate, said 40 senators and 150 House members have been scouts or troop leaders and he expected to find enough support to pass the measure this year.