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."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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 It's clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future," GLAAD President Herndon Graddick wrote.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. America

    Let the gays join the Girl Scouts where they belong!

    August 9, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  2. pjc722

    If President Obama opposes the Boys Scouts decision on gays within their ranks and he also supports Marriage between a man and a man or a woman and a woman THAN TAKE THE STAND AND PROMOTE A LAW ON BOTH ISSUES!

    I am tired of the President coming out in support of gay rights so that he can use it as talking points in his campaign like he did the first time around and then doing nothing about it. Not once since he came out in support of GAY MARRIAGE has a law been even suggested! He is the President of the United States, he controls basically the actions of his party and can easily show the world and the gay community that he is not giving us LIP SERVICE by standing in front of a podium and saying that the papers in his hands are a new law legalizing gay marriage OR gays in the Boys Scouts.

    Just because the president promotes a law doesn't make it a law. But it goes further than LIP SERVICE which is all he has given presently. As well, it doesn't matter if states approve gay marriage because until it is federally approved I am not recognized Nationally.

    On gays in the Scouts, he can make a stand that the discrimination of atheists and gays is wrong and that he has instructed all Federal monies not to be given to the Scouts OR for ANY Federal building or lands to be used by the Scouts. He should also make it an order that the US Military NOT host or fund any and ALL Scout activities until the ban on atheists and gays are lifted.

    Until then, this president... albeit the first to supposedly support Gay marriage... is doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING MORE THAN LIP SERVICE to my community.

    August 9, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  3. Mike

    Something he doesn't control...yet. I hope the LDS can hold it down...it is a PRIVATE organization, not government subsidized.

    August 9, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  4. Whome

    Coming from a person who has no respect for family values or traditions what else would you expect? Why is it that we should honor the values of others but ours don't count?

    August 9, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  5. Sergio D. Monterroso

    I'm glad the president is just an "honorary president" of that organization, although I wonder if the "honor" part of the word should be taken off. When he was running for president 4 yrs ago, he said he believed in traditional (real) marriage, either he lied or he sold out his values. Either way his honor is gone. A Disclaimer on my part: I am not a Republican, in fact I voted for the president 4 years ago.

    August 9, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  6. JR

    Then Barry would be OK with Sandusky as a scoutmaster? It would seem so.

    August 9, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  7. fourtwozero

    The Boy Scouts only allows gays to be Scout Leaders.

    August 9, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  8. Chaos

    I was molested by a boy scout troop leader on a trip when I was 12. I quit the scouts and never went back. If the scouts decision to exclude homosexuals protects just one young man from the pain I went through, then their decision is right.

    August 9, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |

    As a heterosexual man, I am not permitted to lead a girl scout troop, or to take them on unsupervised camping trips.

    It's called Youth Protection. It's also common sense. And I'm not taking to the streets because I feel as though I'm being discriminated against...

    August 9, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  10. Camdens_Log82

    Based on how homosexuals reacted to the Chick-fil-A debacle by staging a "national kissing" day, the maturity levels of homosexuals, as a whole, are quite low. Who'd want their young son seeing two people of the same gender kissing?

    August 9, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  11. Greg Short

    There is no ban on homosexuals with the BSA. Justna ban on having homosectual leaders. The BSA is trying to teach the boys a number of moral values and homosexuality is not one of them. That is why they dont want homosexual leaders. Not to mention, the fact that many of us parents would not want our kid going on a campout with a leader that could easily be interested in young men, which is 100% what those campouts are made up of. My son is an Eagle Scout and the day this rule gets overturned (whether by the forceful hand of the government or a change in position by the main board) will be the last day my son is a scout (he has already informed me of such) and the first day of the death of a great institution that has produced some of the best men in our country.

    August 9, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  12. Camdens_Log82

    No homosexuals in the Boy Scouts.

    August 9, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  13. givemea break

    Sometimes, the president should stay out of thing that is not his business.

    August 9, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  14. IO

    Just another hate group.

    August 9, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  15. Mike

    Well then do something about it. Resign as the honorary president of the organization. We don't care about any more "announcements" take action. We know you can do it if you really care as you did with the immigration fiasco....

    August 9, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  16. rick1948

    Why is this a big deal? The Boy Scouts have a right to ban gays, if that's the road they want to take. And, the President has a right to disagree with it, just like anyone else does.

    August 9, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  17. Johnjon

    I'd like to know whats an "avowed" homosexual? It almost sounds like we're members in some radical group.............. kind of like the BSA. I can't believe in 2012 this silliness is still being discussed. I guess we all have to be patient a while longer and wait for saner minds to prevail.

    August 9, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  18. Mark

    So what. Who is he? God says it is an abomination, and thus the act is wrong. Now, then again, so is fornication, adultery, stealing, murder... yet he says SOME of those things are wrong. What next, will he oppose the churches view that it is wrong? (we don't "ban" them, we love them for who they are, not what they chose to do, because you "are" not gay, but chose it). Give it time, and if "we" (I didn't) elect him again this year accepting pedophelia will be on his list before his next term ends.
    Our morals are in such rampant decay.

    August 9, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  19. Mark

    taking out the last stronghold. Next he'll go after the churches, forcing his view upon everyone (he had the press easting out of his hand a long time ago). Our society is in such decay, and we aren't even allowed to think on our own.

    August 9, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  20. I Like to tiE My doG To the rooF Of tHE famILY Car for FUN

    I'm with you Barack ... more nonsense from the haters club who teach their children to hate-on.

    August 9, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  21. Pat

    More like GLAAD bulling the boy scouts...

    August 9, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  22. Anyone thats votes Obama is a traitor to their country

    Democrats the party of Gays

    August 9, 2012 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  23. Jim Sedberry

    This issue will be one of many that will take this clowns' 747 and his post as "king" of the world away from this low life, and good riddiance to all of them!!!!

    August 9, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Considering that the President wasnt a boy scout makes it plausible that he took the position that he did. Part of the Scout Oath is to On my honor, I will do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times;
    To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.


    August 9, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  25. Elliot Carlin

    And I oppose President Zero's ban on getting the economy back on track.
    There, now we're equal.

    August 9, 2012 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
1 2 3 4 5