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. Larry L


    The Scouts are a private organization and they have the right to include or exclude anyone they like.
    =============================================================================================== Really? Many military bases have "scout huts" where the scouts hold meetings for free. Our military also allows the scouts to use our military facilities and reservations w/o charge – often at higher priorities than veterens. Military personnel are allowed to support Scout activities on government time – not docking them for time or pay. Why should an organization that discriminates against a population accepted by our military for service be allowed these taxpayer-funded privledges? Could they exclude African American children?

    February 3, 2013 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  2. Bob Lewis

    I guarantee that f he had an openly gay child who wanted to join, it would be a totally different story.

    February 3, 2013 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Marcus

    harvey – The BSA is supposed to teach values to kids (besides a LOT of fun stuff). Bigotry is not a value. To deny hard earned merits to someone (and get him kicked out of the BSA) due to his sexuality only teaches the kids that the BSA is:
    – led by folks out of touch with reality
    – led by hypocrytes
    – not suitable for kids whose parents REALLY wants them to learn values
    – all talk and no actions on values issues
    – all of the above

    February 3, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. Texan and Proud of it

    Please don't think that Perry represents the thoughts and values of all Texans, or even the majority. He does not. Nor does David Dewhurst. They are once again embarrassing buffoons reflecting poor judgment made purely on political calculations. Believe me – there are many of us proud Texans doing our best to get these guys out of office. Remember – he was not originally elected- but assumed the office when GWB served only half his term. Then it is always difficult to beat an "incumbent" with a huge campaign chest and strong corporate ties...

    February 3, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Brian

    Could Rick's open hostility to being gay be a front to hide his own homosexuality? Wouldn't be the first time a hater was exposed by their vehement denial to be hiding their own inner demons.

    February 3, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Taylor

    All they're doing is teaching these kids that homosexuality is not acceptable and that bigotry is okay. "Sexuality is not one of those values", no but honor and friendship and respect ARE values that we need to be teaching our children and that includes acceptance of all people.

    February 3, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  7. aint nobody got time for that have the strongest economy in the US. Yes you should run him out of office and struggle like the rest of us.

    February 3, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. Puddin

    Somehow, I just cannot believe that being gay is a learned behavior when there are those who say they felt "different" at age five.. There has to be some medical reason people are born this way. And, yes, I know what the Bible says about homosexuality, and I'm sure some wonder why they were born with this problem. (They probably think of it as a "curse.)" However, I also don't think straight boys and gay boys going through puberty should be thrown together in a setting such as campouts, etc. The good Gov. Perry should do some soul-searching about this subject and have a heart about people being born homosexual. To me, it is admiral when a boy wants to try and make himself a better person, no matter the sexual preferance. It is a dilemna where I hope I am never put in a position to have make a final decision over anything concerning this subject. It is gut-wrenching to say the least.

    February 3, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. JB

    Two words... WHO CARES! Who cares what that windbag thinks?

    February 3, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  10. Debbie

    Perry, the guy who just said "Freedom is the best anecdote for poverty" last Tuesday. I'm embarrassed to be a Texan.

    February 3, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  11. where is the sanity

    Don't Join then Rick...Texas deserves you. Stay there..

    February 3, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. rob1961

    Perry's views on most subjects are many times a challenge to reality–see his views on global warming. This is just another testament to his bigotry and questionable intelligence. Please, Mr. Perry, join Palin as a has-been who never was!

    February 3, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. Sue

    Sexual orientation starts in the womb, Mr Perry. Hatred and bigotry are learned. Get educated and get over it.

    February 3, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Guy

    This argument against including gays is once again misrepresenting the picture.
    WHY do anti-gay people like Rick Perry always describe gays as "teaching their lifestyle"?
    It's simply about inclusion. The vast majority of gay people simply live their lives as any other person does.
    Their sexuality has nothing to do with participating in jobs, social organizations, school, and yes, even church.
    There are millions of gay people in our country. We live amongst you. You don't know us because we are NOT out "teaching our lifestyle". We are simply busy with work, family and living.

    February 3, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Randy, San Francisco

    Gov Perry exposes what troubles the Republican Party, It is still a party of exclusion and intolerance, despite efforts to reinvent itself.

    February 3, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  16. Joseph L.

    When will people learn that people are born gay? It is more than " sexuality " is an innate, biological, important part of who a person is. Would it be tolerated if Black or Asian kids were excluded? This is about ignorance and lack of education of this subject. There are millions of gay kids and yes there are gay scouts who need to feel they are equal as scouts and human beings.

    February 3, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Bessy

    Since this opinion comes from Rick Perry I would say " consider the source ". Actually, I have to agree with
    " Debbie ". If I were a Texan I would be embarrassed also. In fact, there is so much nonsense coming out of the mouths of these Texan politicians I have no desire to even visit the state anymore. I feel that I would be labled by my
    " Northern " accent.

    February 3, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Perry has a 31% approval rating, desperate times call for desperate statements. I think Perry made an arse out of Texas during his candidacy and he's on his way out.

    February 3, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Sorensen

    Perry is as usual uneducated, confused and corny.

    February 3, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Anonymous

    "Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons," he said. "Sexuality is not one of them"
    You're right, except that allowing gays in the Scouts does NOT mean teaching sexuality. Perry, you're a dinosaur. Stay in Texas.

    February 3, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. Roy1964

    I don't think anyone is suggesting the teaching of sexuality as suggested by Mr. Perry. Life lessons yes, but not sexuality; gay or otherwise. Was he taught how to be straight in BSA. What merit badge is that Rick?

    February 3, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  22. GRS62

    "Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons... Sexuality is not one of them"
    You're right, Perry. Except that allowing gays in Scouting is not the same as teaching sexuality. If you don't see the difference, then you're as dumb as your beliefs are antiquated.

    February 3, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. Bill

    Rick Perry is also opposed to intelligence – so it figures.

    February 3, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. RickFromTexas

    This is the same pathetic Governor Goodhair who couldn't remember the names of the three federal agencies he wanted to shut down, showing how desperate he is to stay in the limelight. Move along, folks, nothing to see here, lol...

    February 3, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. Robert

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

    He just proved the point that it SHOULD be allowed. If it weren't taught or discussed, why would it matter?

    On the other hand, why don't we just pass a federal law that says that if you exclude any American from your organization based on bias, hatred, discrimination, you should not be allowed the use of "of America" in your organization's name?

    February 3, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
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