September 26th, 2007
11:10 PM ET
9 years ago

Richardson to Boy Scouts: Be Prepared . . . to find another Honorary Chairman

WASHINGTON (CNN) – New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said if elected president he would decline the position of Honorary Chairman of the Boy Scouts of America because of that organization’s policy barring participation by openly gay males, he said at a Democratic presidential debate Wednesday night.

When asked if he would accept the position, Richardson said, “No, I wouldn’t, because I think as president I would commit myself, number one, that I will be a leader that prevents discrimination on the basis of race, gender and sexual orientation.”

Last month, Richardson angered gay rights supporters by saying at a presidential forum that he believed being gay was a "choice," but he later clarified that he misspoke.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Zeke, Las Vegas, NV

    Bravo for Mr. Richardson for standing up and taking a stance that could cost him votes.

    September 26, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. Katherine Punto, Tampa, FL

    This makes no sense. He won't represent the boy scouts because of their stance on gays. How is he going to be the Commander of our military? Would the Boy Scouts meet his criteria if they also adapted a Don't ask, don't tell policy? Very interesting.

    September 26, 2007 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  3. Pete, Fort Worth, TX

    It's about time that someone spoke out against this discriminating organization. Their policies are fine if they are a private organization, but they are not. They are publicly funded. They should have to stop their discrimination or lose all public funding. I’d be very surprised if anyone was ever brave enough to stand up against this organization that’s actually able to get into office.

    September 27, 2007 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  4. Matt, Washington, D.C.

    Well done! What a bigoted organization. I don't care whether being gay is a choice or a potato, the bottom line is Richardson is saying he will protect my rights. You go boy!

    September 27, 2007 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  5. Ethan, Dover,NH

    This is a dumb move by Richardson. He may get more support from the gay rights crowd, but he's losing the support of one of the America's oldest groups, one that prides itself on service to others and skills training. Maybe he will refuse the title of Commander-in-Chief because of the don't-ask-don't-tell policy.

    September 27, 2007 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  6. Mark Campbell, Pelham, Al.

    Gov. Richardson, you have definitely lost any chance of my vote shunning the best youth organization to make young boys into resposible men and citizens. There are 3 things that are important enough to me that I know the current democratic party and its leaders do not respect like I respect my Navy and all the Armed Forces, my children and grandchildrens' education over the teachers union and political correctness, and the Boy Scouts of America.

    September 27, 2007 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  7. Max, Boston, MA

    I gotta admire Richardson's willingness to make amends, but I do find it funny that he has to piss off another organization in order to do it.

    I don't see why believing homosexuality is a choice is a negative stance to take. Since homosexuals can't naturally reproduce, labeling it as a genetic predetermination would more likely make the preference seem like a disease than a separate race.

    September 27, 2007 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  8. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    The Boy Scouts is a Southern Baptist religious organization that also discriminates against atheists.Not just gays.

    September 27, 2007 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  9. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    Does this mean he will decline the position of Commander-in-Chief since the military does not allow gays or lesbians to serve?

    September 27, 2007 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  10. laurinda,ny

    That was comical. He looked dumb founded as if to say, you've got to be kidding me.

    September 27, 2007 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  11. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Richardson, have you ever heard of freedom of association? Boy Scouts is not a government organization. They have every right to decide who will or who won't be allowed to participate in their organization.

    September 27, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Would you also decline being "Commander in chief" as thanks to Bill Clinton we have the don't ask, dont tell policy in regards to gays?

    September 27, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    This guys got stones and would be a good pick for VP.

    September 27, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Larry Hooper Oviedo, FL

    Now this really shows a complete lack of leadership. I want a leader who does what he knows to be right, and does not waffle. This is a classic example of leading by public consensus. This is characteristic of previous liberal "leaders." Clinton pulled uds out of Somalia in response to one phone call from Madeline Albright who called from one of the western states after seeing a group of about a dozen college students protesting the U.S. presence in Somalia. Give us a president who will lead by conviction and not by consensus!

    September 27, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    Finally. Now, will the rest of them stand up and do the right thing? I doubt it. We must be mindful of the sensibilities of the cave dwellers, but we must never be sesntive to people that have managed to evolve away from primitive notions. Sadly, somewhere along the line, "uhmuricuns" developed a dislike for intellectual progress. Just don't make us live with you in that cave.

    September 27, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. John,

    Do most boy scout troops actually discriminate based on religion and sexuality? Not really. Is a Boy Scout troops based out of an LDS church or any other church, synagogue, etc, going to be more akin to adhearing to the religious aspects of the organization, sure.

    When i was a scout, religion played a very small role in ourr activities. There were many youth who i knew didn't go to church, it wasn't a big deal. We're there gays? i really couldn't tell you.

    However, later in my scouting experience i did hear of an interesting story. A youth group from out of state came to a overnight adventure camp. It turns out this unit was comprised of mostly gay scouts. One of the nights, camp staff walked in on some 'late night activities' shall we say. The unit was asked to leave camp that next morning.

    Was this discrimination? No. Sexual contact between any gender is prohibited. At co-ed venturing activities, there is no sexual contact allowed between males and females. Offenders are sent home, its that simple. Scouts should not be engaging in that type of activity while at scouting events.

    Given that, do I believe the scouting organization needs to realize that homosexuality is not a 'choice' and that these kids deserve the opportunity to particapte in scouting like every other kid. It would just require vigilant monitoring by all the adult volunteers, that's all.

    One could say that my idea would be an affront to the religious aspects of Scouting, and indeed Baden Powell wanted this organization to mean something more than just camping in the wooods. But i think many many religions are on the wrong, actually immoral, side of the homosexuality debate.

    For all those WWJD wrist bands...many aren't applying their own question to themselves.

    September 27, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Mason, Wales, Wisconsin

    I love Richardson, and would love to see him on the ticket. However, I just love Obama and Edwards more. However given his wonderful history in diplomacy and education, he would make an excellent Secretary of Education, or Secretary of State. OBAMA EDWARDS 08!!!

    September 27, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  18. Kate, Flint

    I love this guy. He and Obama would be a fantastic combination! (hmmm...a presidential duo that would actually know something about foreign policy.)


    September 27, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. James, Phoenix AZ

    Yeah – let's get back to harrassing boy scouts!

    Nevermind the US Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional right of a PRIVATE organization to include or exclude based on the emphasis of the Scout creed.

    And let's not acknowledge that such discrimination happens EVERY day (girls softball teams discriminate boys, my white son is excluded from applying for NAACP college scholarships, the governor of California (Arnold) can NEVER be President because he's an immigrant, etc etc etc).

    No, let's just go back to bashing the Boy Scouts.

    Thankfully, however, Rupaul has a greater chance of being elected to lead the National Boy Scouts than Bill Richardson being nominated or elected President.

    September 27, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Jess Sayin'

    If a straight man wanted to be a Girl Scout troup leader, warning bells would be ringing, and a chorus of 'hell no!' would be uttered by people of all persuasions.

    Think about it.

    September 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  21. Moe, NY

    Not to worry Boy Scouts...Richardson will most definitely be back with chance of him not returning!

    September 27, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    "Nevermind the US Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional right of a PRIVATE organization to include or exclude based on the emphasis of the Scout creed."

    Posted By James, Phoenix AZ :

    Yes a private organization may discriminate... but if they do "THEY CAN NOT GET ANY PUBLIC FUNDING"...Having the press serve as honorary president would be saying that he supports there stance on this and other issues. He should not accept the position if their position on the issue insults his sensibilities.

    September 27, 2007 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    If a straight man wanted to be a Girl Scout troup leader, warning bells would be ringing, and a chorus of 'hell no!' would be uttered by people of all persuasions.

    Posted By Jess Sayin’

    Biology 101... Straight men are male, Girls Scouts are female.

    If a man (gay or straight) want to be a scout... they have the BOY scouts

    If a woman (gay or straight) wanted to be scout... they have GIRL scouts

    Men can't be GIRL scouts...Its not a gay or straight issue

    Really.... think about it

    September 27, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    I recieved my Eagle Scout pretty recently. I couldn't be who I wanted to be in Boy Scouts for fear of being kicked out of the troop. I loved scouts and it shouldn't discriminate against it's members.

    September 27, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. James, Phoenix AZ


    How does the President serving as Honorary President provide the scouts with funding?

    (It doesn't – so US Presidents have historically accepted this offer of Honorary President).

    You are right – Bill Richardson can denounce the Boy Scouts and reject their organization. And the millions of voting parents who have kids in scouting can reject Bill Richardson.

    Bukky – do you support any organizations which discriminate?

    September 27, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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