White House: Obama Opposes Boy Scouts’ Ban on Gays

The White House said today that President Obama opposes the Boy Scouts of America's policy banning gays, the Washington Blade's Chris Johnson reports:

Scouts_obama“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,” White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said in the statement. “He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.”

In a follow-up email, Inouye said Obama won’t resign or relinquish his position as honorary president of the Boy Scouts as result of this position.

Boy Scouts spokesperson Deron Smith responded to the statement:

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

This is one issue on which Obama and Mitt Romney agree. A Romney aide said over the weekend that his position on the issue remains as it was in 1994, when he said:

"I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation."

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick responded to the Obama statement:

"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 It’s clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future. 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?”

Eagle Scout and LGBT advocate Zach Wahls, who has been active in the campaign to get the BSA to drop its policy, responded as well:

"I couldn't agree more with President Obama about how important the BSA is to this country's young men and am proud to have his support. The fact that the Presidential candidates of both major American parties have come together to oppose the BSA's anti-gay policy in the most polarized political climate since Reconstruction speaks volumes about both the moral validity and critical importance of ending the ban. It's no surprise that the leader of the free world is willing to advocate for a little more freedom within the BSA."


  1. jason says

    Well, if Obama was truly going to make a stand, he’d resign his position as honorary President of the Boy Scouts. I doubt he will. He doesn’t have the courage of his fake convictions.

  2. bierce says

    The BSA teaches young men that it’s correct to always shun gay people, and that it’s proper to exclude gay people from all their activities. It’s hard to imagine how anyone can defend this position.

  3. milou says

    “the common good”. I guess that the common good mysteriously doesn’t include everybody. well, god is mysterious, isn’t he? this may relate to a current story on boingboing about how christian fundamentalist schools don’t like venn diagrams.

  4. BobN says

    It’s disappointing that the WH couldn’t say something more on point, that the BSA — while it may once have represented America — no longer does and that there doesn’t appear to be a good reason to remain the anti-gay, anti-atheist organization it was in the past.

  5. KP says

    Aka “The Boy Scouts’ policy is wrong but I am going to do absolutely nothing to change it”. Hooray! (Though I get why Mittens and Obama won’t do much more than issue statements – I just get sick and tired of politics getting in the way of our rights).

  6. KP says

    Aka “The Boy Scouts’ policy is wrong but I am going to do absolutely nothing to change it”. Hooray! (Though I get why Mittens and Obama won’t do much more than issue statements – I just get sick and tired of politics getting in the way of our rights).

  7. Abel says

    Ironically, Robert Baden-Powell, who started the scouts, may well have been a closeted homosexual himself. Historians disagree, but there is some evidence to that effect.

  8. Bill Perdue says

    Is there an election on the horizon?


    Obots are trolls.

    The rest of us can’t wait until November 7th when Demobot and Obot trolls can quit pretending to be for GLBT equality and climb back under their rocks.

  9. andrew says

    Obama is the best friend LGBT people have ever had in the Oval Office. He can’t do everything this lifelong liberal democrat would like him to do, because he is the POTUS, a very diverse nation. In order to move the progressive ball forward he needs to get 270 electoral votes. Not going to be an easy task. Yes Bill Perdue, this white gay male USN veteran and life long liberal democrat has contributed $$$ to the Obama re-election campaigh and intends to proudly cast his vote for Obama and encourage family and friends to do the same.

  10. says

    He needs to resign his position to make his point… does anyone else note that the organization calls him “good people” as opposed to the other people who disagree with them who are gay themselves? yech.

  11. andrew says

    @Jessica: You do realize that if President Obama resigned as honorary head of the Boy Scouts of America, he would not win re-election and we would have a republican administration with all their homophobia. We would get more conservative justices on the SCOTUS and that would set the progressive movement back for a generation.

  12. says

    I am a little less thrilled than other LGBT-equality advocates about the news. I applaud the President for publicly opposing the policy. But the way he did so was not so inspiring. Why did he have to praise the group before disagreeing with their policy? Would he have done that if it were a different group facing exclusion? He could have framed his statement much better. And even if the politics prevented him from doing more, we should still recognize the flaws in his approach. We should aspire to more.
    Mike ( http://www.youthallies.com/anti-gay-policies-boy-scouts-inconsistent-standards/ ).

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