Former Defense Sec’y Robert Gates, Who Oversaw DADT Repeal, To Lead Boy Scouts of America

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f5cdbc82970b-800wiRobert Gates, former Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, will be the next President of the Boys Scouts of America, replacing Wayne Perry, Imperial Valley News reports. Gates' role in dismantling the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that discriminated against openly gay service-members is being perceived by some as valuable experience to bring to an organization that has struggled with whether and how to accept openly gay members. Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts repealed their ban on openly gay scouts but not on openly gay scout leaders. Some are hopeful that will change under Gates' leadership:

Gay-rights groups praised Gates' appointment and called on him to
push BSA a step further and allow gay leaders and adult volunteers.

"Millions of people and national corporations
have called on the Boy Scouts to put an end to discrimination once and
for all," GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said. "We urge Dr. Gates to
continue his work to ensure all people are treated equally, no matter
who they are and no matter what uniform they wear."

Gates, a former Eagle Scout, has previously spoken of what he sees to be the values of scouting in today's society:

"At a time when many American young people are
turning into couch potatoes, and too often much worse, Scouting
continues to challenge boys and young men, preparing you for
leadership," Gates said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted
by the Department of Defense.


  1. Mike says

    Robert Gates steered the defense department away from the warped policies of Rumsfield under the uber idiot Bush and successfully saw an end to “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. The ban on gay scout leaders must end now! Hopefully he will implement it . . .

  2. Francis #1 says

    This is great news, but what we need to remember is that Robert Gates doesn’t have all the power in his hands. As it currently stands right now, most of the leadership don’t want to change the current policy and most of the parents don’t want to change the current policy. Wayne Perry advocated for change in terms of allowing non-hetero boys in the Scouts and he got his wish but I don’t see the gay leadership ban changing until there’s cultural change within the program because that’s what stopped them from doing so just a few months ago.

  3. Michael Bedwell says

    Anyone who was seriously paying attention to Gates’ behavior during the final three-year journey to end the ban would not immediately assume that his taking over the Scouts means the end of their rabid homophobia re scout leaders. The fact is that the record shows that had President Obama not nudged him (however less than he could have) and the Log Cabin and Witt anti-DADT rulings not happened Gates would NOT have “supported” repeal.

    1. He delayed the formal discussion for as long as he could—until the second year of Obama’s Presidency—while continuing to shitcan gays rather than agreeing to a freeze.
    2. He (sadly backed by the Administration) refused appeals to restore to 100% the one-time separation pay of gays who met the terma of a program had been passed by Congress for anyone involuntarily (but honorably) discharged with six years of service but its execution left up to the Pentagon which had arbitrarily only been giving discharged LGBs 50% of the amount they’d earned. [The resulting ACLU class action suit was not settled until this year with the plaintiffs winning.]
    3. He insisted on another multimillion dollar taxpayer-funded “study” when the previous one the Pentagon had commissioned then ignored (1993)showed that ending the ban would NOT harm the military in any way—just had earlier ones. WHY? It was a double play: One, he obviously believed that it would show that most straight troops were against repeal so he could say, “I’m so sorry but I have to listen to them.” Two, it was timed in such a way that he thought it would help run out the legislative clock before repeal could happen, and while wrong on what troops thought, this play nearly worked as the report wasn’t released until Nov. 30, 2010, barely a month before that session of Congress ended meaning that the bill would have to be reintroduced in the next session with a Repug-controlled House.
    4. He demanded that the mandate in the original repeal bill for creation of nondiscrimination policies for gays in the military after repeal be gutted. LGB troops are still suffering from that in multiple ways, and are formally BANNED from the protections of the DOD Human Goals Charter and the Military Equal Opportunity Program.
    5. Even though the original repeal bill included a provision that, in effect, gave the military six months more before they’d have to stop discharges, Gates demanded that even after repeal passed its implementation be delayed until he, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs, and the President “certify” that it wouldn’t “hurt” the military—something his “study” that backfired on him already demonstrated. He predicted that might take a year.
    6. He broke his February 2010 promise to obey the court’s “Witt Standard” whereby (at least in the 9th Circuit) the military had to prove how each gay service member they wanted to discharge was hurting the military—just being gay was no longer reason enough. While much was made of his ordering that all recommendations for discharge (anywhere) had to be approved from the top which did slow them down, some were still being processed months after the repeal bill was signed until July 2011 when the Circuit Court for the Log Cabin case stepped in and reactivated the ban on further discharges that the District Court had ordered in October 2010 but Gates (and, sadly, Obama) successfully challenged. By that time some 700 more had been needlessly kicked out, and some of them such as Dan Choi relentlessly hounded by the Pentagon to repay, e.g., enlistment/reenlistment bonuses that only became “unearned” because the Pentagon had kicked them out.
    7. If you still doubt the obvious from the above, consider his final act: refusing to certify repeal before he left office at the end of June 2011, claiming that he couldn’t because the military still wasn’t “ready.” But barely three weeks later his replacement said they were, and sent his certification to the President. [The actual end of the ban didn’t take place until September due to an inane, last minute two-month delay amendment by Sen. Robert Byrd in 2010.]

  4. FFS says

    I wouldn’t bet on it.

    I was a student at Texas A&M under his tenure as University President. He did less than nothing to push back against the Young Conservatives of Texas’ constant harassment of the LGBT student body. Couldn’t even be bothered to spare so much as a “Tsk. Tsk.”

  5. says

    This man has a deep-seated but expertly sublimated revulsion against homosexuality. What he will do is admit as many gay scout leaders as would apply, gaining back the confidence of lost corporate funders, but slowly and under the radar, keep microscopic tabs of all these “perverts” and very subtly but methodically, show each and everyone of these gay leaders the accumulated “demerits” – very rarely or necessarily sexual in nature in fact, but valid administrative violations, summarized in the form of a dossier or 101 file, and then just “persuade” these leaders to simply “find a better-paying job” elsewhere. With “recommendations,” of course. A thoroughly legal, scriptural, and financial win-win for Gates and the BSA. Funding regained, all homos kicked out of the Boys Scouts of America.

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