Last week, we told you how the Boy Scouts of America’s Executive Council unanimously voted to lift its ban on gay adult leaders, while allowing exemptions for troops sponsored by religious organizations.
The Boy Scouts’ National Executive Board will decide whether to ratify the change on July 27.
On Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, a longtime opponent of gay Scouts and leaders, reaffirmed his opposition to the change in in an interview with Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” Here’s a transcript:
CHUCK TODD: The Boy Scouts are about to change their policy when it comes to gay scout leaders. Former defense secretary, Bob Gates, of course, is now in charge of the Boy Scouts on the national leader there. You wrote this in a book in 2008. And it was about scouting. And you said this: “Openly active gays, particular advocates, present a problem. Because gay activism is central to their lives. It would unavoidably be a topic of conversation within a scout troop. This would distract from the mission of scouting, character building, not sex education.” Do you still stand by that statement?
RICK PERRY: I do. I believe that scouting would be better off, if they didn’t have openly gay scoutmasters.
CHUCK TODD: And so you are against this policy change by Bob Gates.
RICK PERRY: I am.
In addition to his book about the subject, Perry has made numerous previous public statements opposing gays in the Boy Scouts. When the Boy Scouts’ lifted their ban on gay youth in 2013, Perry, who was then governor of Texas, wrote in a press release that he was “greatly disappointed”:
“The Boy Scouts of America has been built upon the values of faith and family for more than 100 years and today’s decision contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness. While I will always cherish my time as a scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision.”
Appearing later on the Family Research Council‘s program “Stand With Scouts Sunday,” Perry said the Boy Scouts’ “values and principles have worked for a century now. And for pop culture to come in and try to tear that up, which happens to be the flavor of the month so to speak, and to tear apart one of the great organizations that has served millions of young men, helped them become men and great fathers, that is just not appropriate and I hope the American people will stand up and say, ‘Not on my watch.’”
He then compared opposing gays in the Boy Scouts to being an abolitionist fighting slavery:
“The greatest governor that ever served this state was Sam Houston. And from this library that I speak, he made a powerful decision that cost him his governorship. He was against slavery and he stood up and very passionately said, you know, Texas doesn’t need to leave the Union over this issue of slavery. But that’s the type of principled leadership, that’s the type of courage that I hope people across this country on this issue of Scouts and keeping the Boy Scouts the organization that it is today.”
Watch clips from Perry’s “Meet The Press” interview and his appearance on “Stand With Scouts Sunday” below.