Boy Scouts President Robert Gates Would’ve Welcomed Gay Adults, Doesn’t Want to Reopen Issue Now

Robert gatesFormer Secretary of Defense and newly elected Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates said in an interview on Friday that he would have pushed for openly gay adults to be allowed the organization had he been in charge when BSA leadership made the controversial decision to end its ban on openly gay youth (but not gay adults) last year. 

"I was prepared to go further than the decision that was made," Gates told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of a speech before the group's national leaders at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. "I would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country.

Gates, who oversaw the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011, sees welcoming gay youth into Scouting as an important step forward – but said he opposes any further attempts to address the policy now.

"Given the strong feelings — the passion — involved on both sides of this matter, I believe strongly that to re-open the membership issue or try to take last year's decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement — with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own," Gates said in prepared remarks.

A handful of anti-gay conservatives who opposed the inclusion of openly gay boys have already started their own Mike Huckabee-approved scouting alternative: Trail Life USA.


  1. Dixichuk says

    Bless his little ol’ heterosexual heart. He’s trying, I guess, but still doesn’t get it. People’s opinions are not worth more than people’s lives.

  2. StevyD says

    In the 1920’s, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), was an extremely popular religious organization that claimed to include about 15% of the nation’s eligible population, approximately 4–5 million men. Their failure to modernize their beliefs about racial tolerance has led to their current insignificance and despisement. Such will happen to the Boy Scouts if they don’t change.

  3. john patrick says

    Well, maybe Robert Gates doesn’t want to reopen the issue of gay leaders in the Boy Scouts But it seems to me that with his remarks that he would have supported opening the organization to gay leaders, the issue will be opened again whether he wants it to be or not.

  4. says

    Let us be blunt. Those of us who have studied Gates’ career all the way back to when he worked for the CIA know that he is a FRAUD whose ACTIONS (or inactions) always speak louder than his pretty words. Based on the REAL story of his performance in relation to the repeal of DADT, he is UNQUESTIONABLY OUTRIGHT LYING when he claims that he supports both gay scouts and scout masters, just as he’s OUTRIGHT LYING (as quoted in other articles yesterday) that he opened “the way for gays to serve in the military.” To the contrary, he did all he could to STOP the end of the ban (even as he claimed he was for it), delaying the vote in Congress as long as he could with the so-called new “study”—hoping it would run out the clock on that session of Congress, and virtually blackmailing our allies in Congress in May 2010 into gutting the original repeal bill of its MANDATE for nondiscrimination policies IN the military after repeal implementation which renders gays Second Class Soldiers to this day, nearly three years after repeal implementation. Anyone doubting that need only look at the fact that he left his office of Secretary of Defense at the end of June 2011 still REFUSING to authorize that implementation; claiming that after six months of “training” the military still wasn’t “ready” to admit open gays. But only three weeks later his successor, Leon Panetta, signed the paper authorizing the functional end of the ban. Translation: Robert Gates is a two-faced homophobe, and he is NOT “on our side” as the otherwise great Zack Wahls naively has stated.

  5. palto says

    So basically, he wants to keep the boy scouts as a gay version of Menudo. Once the gay boys reach a certain age, they’re kicked out of the group. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together can see what a travesty this is and that it most certainly needs to be addressed. SMFH.

  6. Travis says

    @Dixichuk With all due respect, I think you have history incorrect on the Klan. They NEVER were anything other than a racist organization that sought to spread fear or intimidation.

    What you wrote makes about as much sense as saying that the Nazis just didn’t get why burning Jews, Romani, the physically and developmentally disabled, and the GLBT community was wrong and were never able to grow into the loving, caring organization they were meant to be.

    Do you see how that is a completely senseless statement now?

  7. james street james says

    Robert Gates is a “play it safe” administrator. His behavior regarding equality for gay people can be explained very simply — he is a Republican. But he’s no Lincoln.

    I’m sure that in any decision making moment his thoughts include asking how it will affect him and what is the easiest thing for him to do. What is the right thing to do is a secondary consideration.

  8. Boys Out says

    If I coulda, woulda, shoulda. I’m trying to think of a nicer word than ‘cowardly’, but I can’t.

    What Mr. Gates is saying to bigots is that as long as they’ll kick up a big ol’ homophobic stink, he doesn’t want to risk upsetting them further.

    Come to think of it, ‘cowardly’ is way too nice.

  9. Gerald Spencer says

    Was Gates really “elected” to this position or was he offered the position for the huge amount of money that it pays? Why would anyone want this position? It is like his going from sitting on a cloud to being at the bottom of a mud puddle.

Leave A Reply