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 It’s clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future.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