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. nothing new here

    And why should this matter to Perry – seriously?
    I think this man is just wanting attention, let's not keep focusing on him.
    He should be like Sarah Palin, yesterday's news.

    February 3, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. nothing new here

    I have NO problem with the national board allowing local troops to make their own decisions.
    The groups that are willing to accept people from all walks of life will succeed. The groups that want to stay exclusive will most likely not succeed, and that will be the fault of the local leaders.

    February 3, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. nothing new here


    Rick Perry is also opposed to intelligence – so it figures.
    And his state will soon reap what it has sown. Texas will soon be "purple", if not totally blue by the end of the decade.

    February 3, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Steve

    Rick Perry, another example of what makes the Republican Party what it is.

    February 3, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. Carl

    Sexuality is not the life lesson to be learned here. Tolerance is. Apparently, the concept is something completely lost on Mr. Perry and those of his ilk. His words demonstrate that he's far more worried about the gay rubbing off on others, it would seem.

    February 3, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Sherri

    I can remember a time when the gay community in Dallas was targeted and shot just for being gay. Next to the racism and segregation of blacks, this was one of our darkest periods. Unfortunately, some people have never moved beyond those prejudices, including Perry.

    I have a relative who is gay and a lot of friends who are also. They didn't "pick" their sexual orientation and they won't "infect" others. My church, UCC, is open and affirming and I am proud of that. To not include LGBT in Boy Scouts is indeed prejudicial and bigoted and they send the wrong message to our children that it is all right to be bigots. Shame on Perry and others who have these views.

    February 3, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Hillcrester

    Perry who?

    February 3, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Robert

    What horse-manure. Everyone knows that 83% of American boys learn to masturbate and see their first pornography when they are in the boy scouts. And what do you think all those knot-tying classes are for? Get a clue. The boy scouts have done more to promote sex than LADY GAGA.

    February 3, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Larry L

    @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.
    =============================================================================================== Our "strong economy" is all about trashing our land with fracking in the Glen Ford Shale deposits, the BRAC Commission pumping federal dollars into our military bases, witholding funds from education and infrastructure, immigration, and dishonest accounting procedures. When the fracking is gone we'll be left like a drunk prom date.

    February 3, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. chasejordan

    I love it when they slip up and say what they are really thinking.

    February 3, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. Ky

    Gov Perry's position is trapped the past, where he too belongs. His small thinking and intolerant views fail to represent the state of Texas. Equal rights are human rights.

    February 3, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Patrish

    ... and how well did he do when he ran for president????? Do we care what the thinks????

    February 3, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Merc

    Gov. Perry, a question, if I might....

    You are quoted in the above article as saying, "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." Is this a direct and correct quote?

    If so, I'd like to know how someone's sexual orientation invites life-lessons based on sexuality. It would seem that you're convinced that allowing gay folks into scouts suddenly means that they're going to be teaching their own sexual preference to the scouts. Can you verify that this is what you think?

    If this is what you think, do you have evidence to back up what you're saying?

    If you believe that the sexual orientation of scoutmasters and other scouts is going to be the basis of "life-lessons" on sexuality, what about straight people? Shouldn't we only allow eunuchs to be scoutmasters and, in fact, scouts?

    February 3, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Chris

    First, let me start by saying Texas is a great place and Austin rules. However, People of America think before you act. We need to remember our history in relation to Texas. Every time the people of this great country in our modern times listens to a Texas politician we pain for it through pain, suffering, and anguish. Think about it LBJ and the Vietnam war, Bush 1 Iraq war, Bush 2 Afghanistan war and total destruction of our economy and education system. So before you expend another nano-second of thought consider these things before listening to another bible thumping conservative Texas politician. It is almost like Texas conservative = death, destruction, and mayhem, for our great country, think about it!

    February 3, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  15. John the Historian

    Like all Republicans he has nothing but hate for Gays and doesn't want tolerance and acceptance. You can not exclude people by gender, religion, race and hopefully also sexual orientation. We need a free and open society for all. It seems Perry who said Texas has the right to secede which they do not, should remember the Confederacy lost and their values also lost. Why doesn't he read Bill Bennett who said Republicans lost the cultural wars. Try watching the movie Pleasantville, the 50s are over.

    February 3, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. John the Historian

    Republicans lost the cultural wars. Get over it. The Confederacy also lost. The 1950s are over. Stop the hate and start with acceptance and tolerance now. You can not exclude people on the basis of gender, religion, race, and sexual orientation. I sure hope the Republicans go the way of the American Whig party.

    February 3, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. John the Historian

    The party of family values so sad the Republicans lost the cultural wars in the last election.

    February 3, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. spangler

    The national organization will tell each local unit to determine their own policy, which means this debate will take place over and over again all across the country.

    February 3, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  19. Sifleut

    If you can't bend, you'll break!

    February 3, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Ancient Texan

    Nothing New Here- Texas was blue for 100 years due to gerrymandering and dead people voting ( in alphabetical order), don't think it will change back real soon.

    February 3, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Kelliayne

    As a I'm opposed to Rick Perry!

    February 3, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Kelliayne

    As a Texan I'm opposed to Rick Perry!

    February 3, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. manhandler1

    OK go back to the dustbin of history.

    February 3, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. rs

    The "Party of Stupid" rides again!

    February 3, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. batjones

    "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 Governor answered the question as to why the Boy Scouts are considering stripping the anti-homosexual provisions. Children do not join the Boy Scouts to get dates or find a mate.

    February 3, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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