Obama opposes Boy Scouts' ban of gay members
August 8th, 2012
07:02 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama opposes Boy Scouts' ban of gay members

(CNN) - A White House spokesman said Wednesday that President Barack Obama disagrees with a ban on gays in the Boy Scouts, despite serving as that organization's honorary president.

In July, the Boy Scouts of America announced it had affirmed its policy of "not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals."

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The organization's leaders reached that decision after a nearly two-year evaluation and will take no further action on a resolution that has sought a change in policy, the group said in a news release. The organization had said last month that it would consider a resolution asking that local units be allowed to determine their own standards.

BSA's chief scout executive and national president had convoked a committee of volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate the policy.

On Wednesday, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said Obama recognized the value of the Boy Scouts, but disagreed with their ban on gays.

"The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century," Inouye wrote. "He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation."

Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has supported allowing gays to participate in the Boy Scouts, but he has also supported the Boy Scouts' right to decide its own policies.

On its website, the Boy Scouts write that every president since 1910 - the year of the Scouts' founding - has served as its honorary president.

In a statement, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation hailed Obama's decision while criticizing the Boy Scouts' decision to remain closed to gay members.

"Our nation's leaders from across religions and political persuasions have joined hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the blatant discrimination that the Boy Scouts of America teaches young adults today. It's clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future," GLAAD President Herndon Graddick wrote.

"How long will the Boy Scouts continue to bully young gay Americans into hiding who they are and hurt children of gay parents by denying their parents an opportunity to participate in their children's lives?"

In May, Obama publicly backed same-sex marriage for the first time in an interview with ABC News. Obama said soon after at a campaign fund-raising event that he believes marriage equality "strengthens families."

"I want everyone treated fairly in this country," Obama said. "We have never gone wrong when we've extended rights and responsibilities to everybody," he said, drawing big applause. "That doesn't weaken families, that strengthens families."

Last week a committee drafting the Democrats' party platform approved language endorsing same-sex marriage. If that position is approved by the full party, it would mark the first time support for same-sex marriage is included in the Democrats' platform.

BSA released a statement on Thursday responding to the president's opposition to their stance.

"The Boy Scouts of America respects the opinions of President Obama and appreciates his recognition that Scouting is a valuable organization," the statement read."We believe that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good."

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    What's so funny about this is that, just like the military, there are already gay members in the boy scouts!!!

    August 8, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. GonzoinHouston

    The BSA national board is controlled by social conservatives ostensibly representing religions that sponsor scout troops and the LDS church. These are the people taking scouts to the far right wing. At the local level attitudes are well, local. There are gay leaders and athiest scouts, and troops work around these things because they know the people involved. And with 15+ years as an adult leader of a troop, I know whereof I speak.

    August 8, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It's wrong to ban gays from the Boy Scouts or anything else, it's down right prejudice and ugly to do so. America needs to learn to let people be who they are and leave them alone.

    August 8, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. Tubby the Tuba Texasc

    At least he is holding true to his philosophy that all people are created equal!! Not the Republicans though!!!

    August 8, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  5. gt

    drip...drip...drip...more decay from our leader....drip...drip..america rots from with in...drip,,,drip,,,

    August 8, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    I see the uhbama is tackling those important issues facing America. This guy is a joke.

    August 8, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Craig

    Boys will be boys.

    August 8, 2012 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. chill485

    As a 30+ year member of the BSA and an Eagle Scout, I applaud the President for his stance. While the Supreme Court has rightly ruled that the organization has the right to establish it's own membership requirements, it is a mistaken and sad policy that forces scouts to either hide their growing understanding of their own sexuality late in their scouting career or give up on a valuable program that they have worked hard to advance in. Either violate the Law the promise to uphold or quit. A terrible choice that doesn't have to be. It's onlyt a mtter of time.

    August 8, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. Dave, Central Illinois

    If Obama had a son, I wonder if he would trust him to a gay scoutmaster. Oh yeah, I forgot, he entrusted his late adopted son Trayvon to the street and look what happened. Just as much success as he has with the economy.

    August 8, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. T'sah From Virginia

    Hmm, sooner or later this issue on gays will only be remembered
    by how ridiculous it all was and why homophobia does not make sense
    because eventually you will know someone close to you that crossed over the fence
    and you will still love and accept them...

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    August 8, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  11. usualone

    People tend to be fearful of people that are different than they are. Let's hope the Boy Scouts understand there is nothing to fear from those who are not heterosexuals. Those who have different sexual persuasion are not about to force their ideas on others. Besides, when are Boy Scouts supposed to act on any sexual feelings at all while participating in Boy Scout activities?

    August 8, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. Really?

    "How long will the Boy Scouts continue to bully young gay Americans into hiding who they are and hurt children of gay parents by denying their parents an opportunity to participate in their children's lives?" GLAAD President Herndon Graddick wrote.
    The question is: How long will GLAAD keep bullying the Boy Scouts?
    Why doesn't GLADD just start it's own organization and run it the wy it wants...uh, never mind, we don't need you recruiting young boys into anything.

    August 8, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. testerbill

    The local sponsoring organization (church, PTA, civic club, etc) is responsible for selecting and approving the unit adult leadership. The national office becomes involved if a regestering adult's name appears on the restrictred list or does not pass the background check. The the local council office gets involved to vett the adult and determine if their is a problem.
    Because of it's policy, gay youth and adults know in advance what might occur if they join.
    Anyone following the news in recent years is aware of the numerous laswsuits resulting in the BSA paying millions of dollars in child abuse cases, and therefore should understand why the BSA is so restricted.

    August 8, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  14. rovinsteve

    I support the scouts ban of gays. It's a prime shopping ground for them.

    August 8, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  15. Time for Real Change!

    The Boy Scouts are interested in the well being of the kids. Obama is interested in the well being of his campaign. I think the Boy Scouts are making the right move here, especially in light of the Sandusky incident at Penn State.

    August 8, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  16. fred37ify

    Barrack represents everything the Boy Scouts teach is wrong ! He has no honor ! He is a compulsive liar ! He is dishonest and he has no morals ! In short – Barrack is an anti-scout !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

    August 9, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  17. hate from the left but mostly lies

    Mr. Henderon clearly knows nothing about the boy scouts. The BSA does not bully anyone. And if gay people want to join an organization, why not the girl scouts? I'm sure they would be stupid enough to accept gay people.

    August 9, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  18. ThinkAgain

    The Boy Scouts of America has so many wonderful and positive things to offer – I hope they soon evolve to remove this ban.

    August 9, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  19. CryBabies

    Still "evolving" ...eh Mr. President? You can't "evolve" to civilian life soon enough.

    August 9, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  20. dljr60

    this man is destroying the values of our nation. wow....we are trillions in debt but he wants to promote abortion and bashing the boy scouts for their long held values....our nation will fall apart if we continue down this path. God help us PLEASE!

    August 9, 2012 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  21. IDontBelieveIt

    So the President who is such a 'family man' supports Gays having unlimited, close, unsupervised contact with young boys! And THAT'S after the huge sexual abuse scandal within the Scout movement?
    I'll bet all the Liberals rush out of their trailers to support a criminally negligent move.

    Let me ask this – Would you support Obama if it was Catholic priests?

    Not ALL Gays are perverts – but gay MEN are 100% MORE likely to abuse little boys – but OBAMA wants to take a chance on young boys safety.

    Well only a FEW priests abused – but posters on here RANT that ALL priests should be banned from ANY contact with children EVER!

    See how disgracefully hypocritical you are? And HOW Liberal double standards are wrecking America?

    August 9, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  22. shut_up

    obozo was never a boy scout.. he needs to shut his ugly trap.. he is more interested in barneys frank and anthonys weiner than the economy!

    August 9, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  23. TimM

    Will the craziness ever end? BSA is a private organization, you have to want to join. Leave them alone they can do what they want. But, leave it to GLAAD and every organization will have to change to suit them (GLAAD)...so who's being the bully now?

    August 9, 2012 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  24. Shane

    I oppose their ban too.

    Doesn't mean they have to change it.

    August 9, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  25. genius

    Typical Obama move...go after the Boy Scouts. Nevermind the 43 consecutive months of 8+% unemployment. Obama = "look over here, look over there"

    August 9, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
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