In a statement to the Washington Blade Wednesday, White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said, “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. He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.”
President Obama currently serves as Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America, as is the tradition for sitting Presidents.
Earlier this year, GLAAD released video footage from 1994 of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying, “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.”
According to an Associated Press article that ran earlier this week, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul confirmed that “this remains Romney’s position today.” Romney is a former member of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board.
“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,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “It’s clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future.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?”
GLAAD launched a campaign in April 2012 with Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell to raise awareness and combat the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory ban.
Tyrrell stated, “For the first time ever, a sitting President of the United States has spoken out against the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies. Now, the BSA is not only turning its back on hundreds of thousands of Americans, as well as current and past Scouts — they’re turning their back on the leader of the free world and their very own honorary president.”
President Obama and Governor Romney join hundreds of thousands of Americans including politicians, celebrities, and corporate leaders from AT&T and Ernst & Young (who also happen to be board members of the BSA) in speaking out against the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on LGBT scouts and scout leaders. A spokesperson for Washington Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna also said last month that the candidate, who is the state attorney general and an Eagle Scout, disagrees with the Boy Scouts’ recent decision to maintain its ban on gay scouts and LGBT leaders.
Organizations including the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the America, Campfire USA as well as the 4H Club already welcome gay youth as well as adult leaders.
Source: Washington Blade/GLAAD