The U.K. Scout Association is looking to increase its ranks of gay members and leaders as a way to fight a reputation of being homophobic.
Critics are blasting the 500,000-member organization, saying that it is a blatant move away from "Christian values," according to Pink News. The organization does have religious ties, as it does not permit agnostic or atheist members.
"There was an assumption that being gay meant you couldn’t be part of the movement," said spokesman Simon Carter. "That was never the case and we are keen to make it clear that we accept people of any particular orientation. We have had youth members and adults attend Pride events and plan to do so again this year. It shows that we are not just taking about it but are demonstrating our support publicly."
Wayne Bulpitt, the chief commissioner of the scouts, condemned harassment and bullying in a video that was to be shared with all troops. Within the association, literature is being made available to help scouts and leaders come out, and also to help troops accept gay members.