Perry condemns potential scouting change to allow gay members
February 2nd, 2013
10:06 PM ET
2 years ago

Perry condemns potential scouting change to allow gay members

(CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke out Saturday against potential changes which could permit, for the first time, openly gay members in the Boy Scouts of America.

The BSA is "potentially discussing" changing their longstanding national rules on the matter at an upcoming meeting, the group said last week.

But Perry, a Republican and former presidential candidate, told a statewide gathering of scouts that such a change is not appropriate.

"Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons," he said. "Sexuality is not one of them. It never has been; it doesn't need to be."

The Dallas Morning News said he told reporters after the event, "I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I."

Representatives from local scouting councils across the state gathered in Austin for the Report to State meeting.

Perry is a former Eagle Scout and wrote the book "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For." His publisher says the book "explains the Scouts refusal to bend to the winds of political correctness by allowing activist homosexual scoutmasters" and addresses other scouting topics.

The potential change to the Scouts' rules follows protests after a den leader was forced out of her post because she is openly gay.

The organization made no changes to their policies on gay membership after a recent lengthy internal review.

But the issue is expected to resurface at a meeting this month.

Asked Sunday if the Boy Scouts should be open to gays, President Barack Obama said "yes."

"My attitude is gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life," Obama said in an interview with CBS anchor Scott Pelley before the Super Bowl.

Obama said the organization exposed young people to opportunities and leadership, which "will serve people for the rest of their lives."

"And I think that nobody should be barred for that," he said.

One possible national policy would allow local chapters to determine whether to accept gay members. The statement said if the national board approved this, individual troops could dictate membership "consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs."

The Boy Scouts of America are based in Irving, Texas, just outside of Dallas.

– CNN's Gregory Wallace and Ashley Fantz contributed to this report


Filed under: Rick Perry
soundoff (289 Responses)
  1. craig

    I agree that Scouting hasn't traditionally been about teaching sexuality. However, through the existing policy, they've already adopted that role, teaching each and every scout that some people aren't worthy of the organization for that reason. As a former Eagle Scout, who chose to return my medals because of this and their established program of hiding pedophiles while not protecting the boys, I cannot support the continuation of this bigotry. If Scouting really wants to teach boys values, then start by teaching, as Jesus did, that EVERY human being has value and judging them is NOT an appropriate action. As for Perry...well, he's already told us many things about what he believes, and as I recall even those in his party completely rejected his presentation. He's entitled to believe what he wishes...even if his views are directly contrary to those of the man who founded his Church that he's so proud of.

    February 3, 2013 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  2. Christopher Featherston

    Perry needs to lighten up, the country is changing and he's still living in the past.

    February 3, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Dowgirl

    Human are born every day with physical attributes of both genders, inside and out. The organizations which monitor sports are having a difficult time saying what exactly makes someone a man or woman. At the chromosome level, what is an xxy person? Why is it so hard for people to accept. Gender IS NOT just one or the other and clearly the brain is not just one or the other. Sorry Rick the world is complicated, but I guess you would not realize this, what with Texas deciding to censor science education.

    February 3, 2013 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  4. koga001

    Rick Perry opposes gay people! Really! A vocally religious Texas politician against gays! Well done CNN, this was truly an eye opening article. I certainly hope that you reference more commentary from irrelevant ex-politicians.

    February 3, 2013 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  5. Mike

    Mind you, this is one of the stupidest persons that ever ran for president ......

    February 3, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  6. michael

    Does that come as any surprise from a Party that is rapidly moving towards non-relevance? It is exactly this rethoric of stupidity and exclusion that resulted in Ryan's "stunning" kick in the butt by the Americans. Keep it up Perry – your ignorance must be highly prized by the GOP – especially in Texas where everything is bigger – including stupidity.

    February 3, 2013 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  7. NSL

    Mr. Perry's view is not unexpected considering he is out-and-out bigot, a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his own. He wants to pigeon-hole everyone into second class citizenship who isn't just like him, an extreme right racist, bigot, who clearly understands virtually nothing of the teachings of Jesus he professes to follow.

    He will never, in my opinion, ever reach the point where he will judge people solely by the content of the heart and their character. He's disgusting.

    And no, I'm not gay. I'm a heterosexual. I'm thankful for the job that all our service men and women have done, and I'm tired of people being condemned for actions they might do instead of what they actually do. I'm tired of hearing from politicians and extremist fundamentalists of all stripes whose heads are in the gutter always wanting to control what happens in other people's bedrooms and and other people's doctors' examine rooms. Frankly, it's none of their business.

    February 3, 2013 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  8. Zwei Stein

    What on earth does the Governor have to do with the Boy Scouts of America. They are not a governmental entity tied to the state of Texas. This does not come under his purview.

    February 3, 2013 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  9. Shane

    Allowing gays to enter the scouts doesn't mean its going to be discussed, it doesn't mean that its forcing sexuality on anyone. So I think Perry is a little out of touch what it would actually mean.

    February 3, 2013 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  10. James Eaglescout

    To determine the fairness of an issue, it can sometimes be helpful to change out the names of the groups involved. For this story, re-read it replacing the concept of a person born gay with the concept of a person born black. I think that makes it very clear whether the governor is a bigot or not.

    February 3, 2013 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  11. odds

    You're right, Rick! Sexuality shouldn't be one of the life lessons taught by the Scouts. So why should it matter what a scout leader's sexuality is? Do you expect heterosexual scout leaders to teach their boys about sexuality? No. Of course you don't. But those homosexuals aren't like the rest of us in your mind, are they, Rick? They can't be trusted not to transfer their "gayness" onto our children!

    Just so you know, Rick. You'd better hope that fiery pit you fear doesn't exist, because if it does? You're going to burn in it, my friend! Enjoy!

    February 3, 2013 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  12. toydrum

    "Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons," he said. "Sexuality is not one of them. It never has been; it doesn't need to be."

    The policy of kicking teenagers out of scouting after they have been in it since the age of 6 or 7 means that the scouts ARE teaching about sexuality. They are teaching those teenagers that there is something wrong with them, despite the fact that scientists and psychiatrists say homosexuality is normal. They are also teaching the other scouts that there is nothing wrong with a pack mentality that shuns those that have some randomly defined difference. That viewpoint is more appropriate to gangs than scouts.

    February 3, 2013 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  13. SNAPPA

    Its really sad how heterosexuals don't realize how much they bring sex into everything. Its not gay peoples fault that every time they hear the word "gay" they right away think of sex. If I walked into the governors office would I see lovely photos of him and his family or photos of his wife? Of course you would and you should, but being a gay person doesn't give you that right in this nation for some reason, what that has to do with sex I don't know. Everything for them is broken down to its simplest terms without any thought to the person and what their life is all about. Being gay does not mean your having sex 24/7 its just as boring as straight people. Very sad that right wing people cannot distinguish between the two. Love isn't simply about sex you know, yet that is their train of thought.

    February 3, 2013 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  14. Logic N LA

    Then tell the jerk not to join! Why do the psuedo Christians feel they have the right to decide what is right and wrong for all people. Perry – read that New Testament you claim to live by- you will find you know nothing about Christianity.

    February 3, 2013 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  15. Morgan

    The recent statement by the National BSA has all the earmarks of an attempt to be neutral to the gay policy and pass it off onto the local counsels.

    That is a sad turn of events. The national BSA is playing neutral to take the heat off.
    I think the national BSA should either stick to the original policy or come out in support of gays.

    Don't be sitting on the fence.

    February 3, 2013 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  16. chris

    Oh come on, the only reason that they have decided to change their stance on letting gays in has one reason and one reason only....lost income. Since they have become ignorant and the rest of the US has seen this, kids and parent who see that as wrong have dropped out and dropped support. so now the big wigs living off the $$$ are now seeing a threat to their income. If Perry had an ounce of an IQ point he would see that and not try to bring that in at all. Best to just leave it alone or he'll suffer just as bad as the Scouts.

    February 3, 2013 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  17. Maria

    "Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons," he said. "Sexuality is not one of them. "

    Just because they are thinking of letting gays in doesn't mean they are going to be 'teaching sexuality' you moron. They can still keep teaching life lessons. Like love, respect and tolerance.

    February 3, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  18. Jamie

    "Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons," he said. "Sexuality is not one of them. It never has been; it doesn't need to be."

    This quote is the exact reason why gays want to be allowed into Boy Scouts. It has nothing to do with teaching kids about sexuality and what sex you have feelings for; it's about not separating the straights from the gays, thus making it about sexual orientation. If any Scout Master started trying to preach about anything sexual (whether it be gay or straight) they should be removed from this position! It is the anti-gay crowd that turns this into a sex thing.

    February 3, 2013 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  19. An eagle scout

    Rick Perry is not a former Eagle Scout. There is no such thing. When someone earns their Eagle, they are forever and always an Eagle Scout.

    February 3, 2013 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  20. TM

    So, please enlighten us Governor, exactly which "life lesson" are you promoting here, bigotry, intolerance, or discrimination? It's no surprise that the only man in Texas who can make GWB look like a Rhodes Scholar by comparison would be taking a public stand like this.

    February 3, 2013 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  21. Jo

    Stop trying to make political statements with BSA! Just let them be without imposing sexual orientation into the discussion. These boys have plenty more to prepare for than homosexuality or any sexuality. They should be able to stand by their policies and beliefs, and courts have certified their right, so the LGBT community should stop trying to force everyone from accepting their lifestyle or members as leaders of BSA.

    February 3, 2013 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  22. timz

    Maybe he'll threaten to secede again.

    February 3, 2013 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  23. FlyOnTheWall

    Rick Perry who?

    February 3, 2013 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  24. Jen

    Why aren't survival skills taught in schools? The best way to handle these idiots is to make them irrelevant – take all the skills they teach and make them available through other means.

    February 3, 2013 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  25. Chris

    What Gov Perry is overlooking (or willfully oblivious to) is that the BSA doesnt need to address the sexuality of a scout or a troop leader or ayone else. They just need to stop dicriminatng because of it. Same can be said of their bias against atheists. All descrimination, regardless of their petty excusses for it, needs to stop immediately.

    February 3, 2013 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
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