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

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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. OldWhiteMan

    Rick Perry proved he is one of the great minds of our times in the Republican presidential debates...NOT. Kicking a kid out of scouting for being a homo is a "life lesson" in sexuality...the lesson is 'you aren't worth a crap'. Rick, are an embarrassment.

    February 3, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  2. Evan

    Gee, what a surprise. A guy who doesn't believe in science, evolution or climate change 't thinks that the boy scouts keep discriminating against gay people. He's clueless. Being gay isn't about sex, it's about who you love. Governor Perry's life is about who he hates.

    February 3, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  3. DoubleU

    Good ole boy Perry is pretty popular in Texas, but the Goper primaries seemed to indicate that outside of the Lone Start sate no one give a flip about what he thinks. I think he thinks.

    February 3, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  4. os1usnr

    You, sir, are a bigot of the highest order. You should be ashamed of yourself, but clearly that is not the case.

    February 3, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  5. greenaxe

    I'm sure a lot of gays would be insulted if this guys opinion really mattered.

    February 3, 2013 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. fun. some nights

    Too bad slick Rick is still the governor of Texas. Thank God he's not the president of the U.S. Rick, if you should read this you might be shocked to find that the current year is 2013.

    February 3, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. Anonymous

    I don't like the idea of a gay child having to hide who they are in order to be in the scouts. I also don't like the idea of telling children that they cannot do something because they were born ________ (fill in the blank).

    February 3, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  8. douglas

    Perry's single argument doesn't hold water. He said "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.".

    I thought the change which might occur is not that they're going to start teaching sexuality, just letting others in and have a different sexual orientation.

    February 3, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  9. Bill P

    Since when do "straight" people have superior moral values than gays? Do atheists have lower moral values than Christians? How about excluding scout leaders that are into wife-swapping, or spend time each week in a bar picking up loose women, or frequent prostitutes? Do we exclude Arabian children because they were born to Arabian parents? How far does bigotry and prejudice go? The issue is continually clouded by not recognizing the difference between orientation (not a choice) and life-style (a choice). Let's stop segregating because of orientation!

    February 3, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  10. John

    So just so I'm clear here. The BSA are about teaching skills and life lessons but are NOT about sexuality. Therefore we should continue to ban people from taking part in teaching said skills on the basis of their sexuality.

    Good job Rick Perry. Continue to create $5/hr jobs for your state so they can work AND be significantly below the poverty line.

    February 3, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  11. Chris

    "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."
    So if sexuality is a non-issue for scouts, why is Rick insisting on making it one? Let boys be scouts however God made them; and let wonderful, law-abiding (NO predators!), scout leaders be themselves as well.
    Doesn't anyone follow the Golden Rule anymore?

    February 3, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  12. Mack

    With a belief system like this, do you think it's possible that Rick Perry has an internal "no gay" hiring policy when he's in a position of leadership and has people working under him. I mean, wouldn't he admit that – all else equal – he'd rather not work with, talk to, or in any way have to deal with gay people? C'mon...of course this is his mindset. Discriminate, discriminate, discriminate....

    February 3, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. Harvey

    The Scouts are a private organization and they have the right to include or exclude anyone they like. If you don't like who they choose to include or exclude, then you have the right to be sure your children do not participate.With their decision to admit gays; I suspect there will be a shake up in membership, a lot will leave and a lot will join.

    Personally, if I had a kid in the Scouts I would probably pull him out.

    February 3, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  14. dick

    Perry just doesn't have a clue.

    February 3, 2013 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  15. jacksays

    "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."

    Scouting is certainly teaching a substantial life lesson when condemning their own who happen to be gay/bi, Mr. Perry.

    February 3, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. CWRandolph

    Here, is Political hack, who now 60% of his own state do not want him to run for Governor, cannot remember what departments in the Federal government he want to get rid of and played the extreme right in his state so long each day he becomes more and more irrelevant.

    I ready and heard some religious and some civic organizations will withdraw support from the scouts if they make this change but this is very silly. If they want to continue teaching homophobic fears and prejudice then let them, they are the ones missing the true value of being a scout. Personally, starting out as a Bobcat and going all the way to the rank of Eagle between the age of 8 and 13 I was not to worried sexual orientation or about it he or she was to friendly with people of the same sex. No, I was more interested what was going to earn me my next merit badge, my next rank badge. I learned a lot of great values from the many, many dedicated individuals that helped, pushed and prodded me to my Eagle Rank. Even today, after nearly 40 years, my trip to "Charley Place, Philmont, and even our own Troop trips, like the 7 days on the North Platte River in canoes still brings a smile to my face.

    So if a group decides to allow Gay members into their particular group good for them! That means there will be another 10, 20, 30 people that are great adults 20 years later

    February 3, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. ol cranky

    and what better way to "not teach them about sexuality" than to kick people out for being gay? I know Perry's one of those people who steadfastly rejects the reality-based world but the best way to avoid a need to discuss sexuality in scouting is not to make it an issue. Forcing troops to make it an issue such that kids see their friends being told they won't be awarded medals they put in the work to earn because someone knows that kid is gay, kicking their friends out of the scouts because the kid is gay and preventing their friend's parents from being involved in scouting solely because the parent is gay makes sexuality an issue for the kids to deal with (an issue most young scouts might not notice and probably wouldn't pay any attention if it weren't for the institutionalized bigotry)

    February 3, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  18. rich

    Rick wrote a book?Right

    February 3, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. J

    It is ironic that the biggest city in TX has a Lesbian mayor.

    February 3, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Penny Wright

    Once again republicans are on the wrong side of history.

    February 3, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. confused

    Hmm. I didnt realize that 9-14 year olds know at their age what that even means. I didnt even have an interest in that stuff till I was in HS. But i guess they are teaching them young these days.

    February 3, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  22. Guest

    "Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons..." Mr. Perry is right on the mark with this statement; however, he's missing the boat. One important life lesson that could come from the change in policy is tolerance. It's time to stop the hatred toward those who may think or look "different."

    February 3, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. Rooscow

    Rick Perry should never be allowed to teach anyone anything anywhere at anytime.

    February 3, 2013 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. wakiash

    Does Perry really believe this crap, or did his handlers tell him this is what he believes? He doesn't have the sense to pour piss out of his boots!

    February 3, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. WhatUstand4?

    One can not argue the fact there's been an obvious gay agenda sweeping through the nation, whether that's right or wrong depends on ones understanding of whats right and whats wrong. According to the law and the constitution it's quite right, but according to christianity and biblical teachings, it's quite wrong. As a private organization, the BSA need to be clear whether their guiding principles are centered on the law of the country or the religious principle, and take a solid stand based on that and not on political correctness or financial pressures. Personally I don't condone hatred of any person. The christian faith clearly states that homosexuality is wrong. Those who say otherwise, either don't really know what the bible says or have no fear of God. It's certainly one thing to struggle with it, but it's quite another to okay it. No private organisation should be forced to go against it's tenants or compromise on it's standards if no actual crime is committed. Whats next after this? Little gilrs who feel inside they are boys will sue the BSA if denied to join? Confusion and popularity seems to run amok. True leadership is needed here.

    February 3, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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