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Mormons keep affiliation with Boy Scouts despite gay leaders (w/video)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon church said Wednesday it will maintain its longtime affiliation with the Boy Scouts despite its decision to allow gay troop leaders, preventing what would have been a thundering blow to the national organization.

The decision from senior leaders of the Mormon church, the nation's largest sponsor of Boy Scout units, came as somewhat of a surprise. The church said it was deeply troubled and considering other options when the Boy Scouts announced July 28 that it would lift its ban on gay adult leaders, while allowing church-sponsored Scout units to continue excluding gay adults.

Church leaders decided to stay with the Boy Scouts after getting assurances they can appoint troop leaders according to their own religious and moral values, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release.

Officials with the Boy Scouts of America said it appreciates the decision.

The Mormon church sponsors nearly 38,000 Scout units with 427,000 boys, accounting for about 18 percent of all youth Scouts.