President Obama Supports Boy Scouts of America Allowing Gay Scout Leaders

President Barack Obama, official portrait

President Obama gave his support to recent moves by the Boys Scouts of America to end its policy of not allowing gay Scout leaders or Scouts in an interview today. He also said that he will not hesitate to send women into combat.

Boy Scouts of America won a United States Supreme Court case (Boy Scouts of America vs Dal) in 2000. The Court held that a Constitutional Right to Freedom of Association allowed exclude a person from membership when “the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.”

BSA has come under criticism since then for taking the position that Scout leaders and Scouts could not be gay. The current discussion is whether or not the Boy Scouts should change this position to allow local affiliates to decide this matter for themselves.

The Reuters article describing President Obama’s comments on the matter says in part:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Sunday encouraged the Boy Scouts of Americato end its ban on gay members and leaders, days before the group is expected to vote on the controversial and long-standing rule.

In an interview with CBS, anchor Scott Pelley asked the president if he believed scouting should be open to gays.

“Yes,” Obama said simply.

… The BSA national executive board is expected to vote Wednesday, the last day of a three-day meeting, on whether to lift the ban it had reaffirmed just last year.

The organization said last month it was considering ending its national ban on gay youth and adult members and leaving policies on sexual orientation to its local organizations.

Since coming into office, Obama has presided over several moves to reduce discrimination against gays, including ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that prevented gay men and women from serving openly in the military.

He also stopped his administration from defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbade gay married couples from obtaining the same benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

Obama also voiced his support for gay rights during his high profile second Inaugural address last month.

Separately on Sunday, Obama said he would have no hesitation sending women into combat after the Pentagon lifted its long-time ban last month. (Read more here.)

  • Kenneth

    There seems to be a conflation of several issues here that have no direct relation except for people who just don’t like Obama’s cultural politics. The government is not making the BSA do anything. They clearly have the right to do as they please as per the Supreme Court decision. That freedom doesn’t come with any guarantee that their position on gay scouts and leaders will be popular. The organization is finding that a sweeping national ban on gay membership is no longer tenable in today’s society, and their decision appears to be motivated by corporate sponsors rather than the president’s opinion on the matter. His positions on DADT and DOM are what they are. It’s much less clear how his decision on women in combat has anything at all to do with his personal opinion on Boy Scout membership policies.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I didn’t write the article. You should probably take these questions up with Reuters.

    • Ted Seeber

      As a parent, if this goes to letting homosexuals into the Boy Scouts, I for one will be keeping my child far away from that organization.

      • Bill S

        It will be interesting to see, if the policy is changed, whether membership increases or decreases. Will those who shun the BSA because of its intolerance of gays accept it if it changes its policy? And will those presently in scouts abandon it because of its tolerance of gays?

        Does anyone really think that the abusers are going to now “come out of the closet”? Or that those who are honest about their sexuality are going to be abusers?

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          Abusers will do whatever they think will help them have a greater chance to get away with their crimes.

  • Bill S

    I respect the President for taking a stand for gays. Hopefully, his influence will have an impact on the BSA’s decision. He is on the right side of history.

    • Ted Seeber

      If encouraging child rape is the “right side of history”, then I for one want nothing to do with history. This decision is *exactly the same one* the Bishops made in ordaining active homosexuals back in the 1960s, and we all know how THAT turned out.

      • Bill S

        Ted,

        You are confusing homosexuals with perverts which they all are not. It is like Pope Benedict (and you) not wanting to ordain homosexual priests because of the sex abuse scandals. They are two entirely separate issues.

        • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

          None are so blind as those who refuse to see. Of course, homosexuals are not all perverts. But when 80%+ of the abuse cases have involved boys (almost 80% of which were adolescents), there is a big flashing red light that simply can’t be missed, unless one’s eyes are squeezed tightly shut.

          • Bill S

            The boys were accessible at the time before girls became alter servers. The priests were likely bisexual and just screwed up from their unnatural celibate lives.

            • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

              I would classify homosexual and bisexual together. It isn’t that high of a percentage that is attracted to the same sex, even within the priesthood (whether or not they are attracted to the opposite sex as well). At least, I’ve known probably a couple of dozen priests well in my lifetime, and only one of those was homosexual.

              Look, Bill, the Church in Boston is a horrible mess, which I suppose is why you make some of the statements you make. It is not as horrible in other places. The vast majority of priests, at least in the places I have been, are celibate and joyfully so. It is a challenge, but it is quite possible to live a celibate life.

              • Bill S

                “…only one of those was homosexual.”

                And…?

                Yes. I have been exposed to the scandals in Boston. But I don’t connect them so much to homosexuality as to celibacy. I still think that gays can be good boy scouts.

                • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

                  Who said anything about gays not being good boy scouts? I thought we were talking about scout LEADERS here?

                  • Bill S

                    Yes. I meant leaders as well. They have postponed the vote. They just didn’t have the fortitude to make a definitive decision.

                • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

                  If celibacy was the main factor, the overwhelming majority of victims would have been teen girls. But the majority of victims were tween or adolescent boys.

  • pagansister

    Yes, President Obama lives in the current world. That tends to make others very unhappy! :-)

  • Bill S

    Marge: you know. He prefers the company of other men.

    Homer: who doesn’t?

    You really don’t know what gay means?

    • Bill S

      For some reason, the comment for which this response applies was deleted so it makes no sense. The commenter asked for the definition of gay.

  • FW Ken

    Of course I know what “gay”means: its a socially constructed role played out by some (not all) persons afflicted with same-sex attractions.

    • Bill S

      Yes. I like your use of the work “afflicted”. It shows where you are coming from.

  • FW Ken

    The point, Bill, is that you have your idiosyncratic definition of gay, based on a set of assumptions and definitions. They are baseless, but you have them. Hence, a meaningful discussion of “gays” in shooting is impossible.

    • Bill S

      If I were to anticipate the argument, it would be that gay men and boys are attracted to other men and boys and the concern would be that they may act on this attraction during scouting activities. People like Obama are less concerned with this possibility than others and possibly some of the people on this site. Fairness would say that you shouldn’t prejudge the intentions of homosexuals. Fear would say that you should. Fear can be presented as Caution, Safety, Righteousness, etc.

      The only difference between what is happening in scouts now and what would happen if they changed the policy is that the dishonest gays hide their homosexuality and the honest gays are banned. This must be particularly traumatic for boys coming to terms with their sexuality who are probably more at risk of being bullied as well. The change would teach tolerance of homosexuals, which is a good thing to some parents and a bad thing to others.

      • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

        Yeah, the chance that I would send my boys on an overnight with a gay scout leader is the same as the chance that I’d send my girls on an overnight with a male scout leader. None.

        • Bill S

          You have the same attitude as Ted. You both have demonstrated the essence of homophobia.

          You never seem to think that someday one or more of your children may turn out to be gay. What would you do then? Try to change them by screwing with their heads?

          • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

            How is what I said discriminatory? If I would be fine with sending my girls on an overnight with a male scout leader, then yes, it would be discriminatory (which, by the way, would still not be bigotry if there was some factual reason why the gay scenario entailed a greater risk.) Why should I assume that a “gay” man is better at controlling his sexual urges than a straight man?

            If I found out that a child of mine had homosexual temptations, I’d counsel them the same as I would anyone that I found out had a particular temptation (and we all have some sort of temptation), and yes, I do think that, with youth, sometimes the “sexual orientation” can be somewhat fluid.

            • Bill S

              So you only see homosexuality as a “temptation” and not a legitimate lifestyle. Your counseling would reflect your prejudice and would likely do more harm than good if your child were truly gay. Hopefully, you will never have to deal with that situation.

              • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

                “Lifestyle”? Lifestyle implies choice. Are you saying it’s a choice to be gay? If it’s a choice then Dave is quite right in worrying about a “temptation.”

                • Bill S

                  If you want to say that a lifestyle is by choice, I wouldn’t argue the point. We all make choices every waking minute. To call yourself gay and live accordingly is a choice that people should be entitled to without fear of reprisal or discrimination. You say “temptation” as if it is evil. I say “inclination” which is less judgemental.

        • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

          One of the BSA’s prevention rules are:

          http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS/gss01.aspx

          ” Councils are strongly encouraged to have separate shower and latrine facilities for females. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use should be scheduled and posted for showers. Likewise, youth and adults must shower at different times.”

          Separate time for males and females in showers, but, if they normalize homosexuality, not for males with a homosexual problem and heterosexual males. In fact, the will shove males with a homosexual problem in situations where they are going to harass heterosexuals. And if the heterosexual boy then complains, he is going to be told he is “homophobic” and that he is the one who has to put up with the dysfunctional and harmful behavior of homosexuals. Now, is anyone advocating that adolescent girls be forced to shower with adolescent boys? Imagine the same complaint from an adolescent girl that she does not like to be in the shower with adolescent boys – would she be told that she was heterophobic and the she needed to put up with it?

          Liberals are disgusting in the ways the lie about how sexually harmful their ideology in normalizing homosexuality is. And since this harm will be done to vulnerable boys, what do they care?

  • Sus

    These comments are sad in many different ways.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Children should not be sexualized. I for one will have second thoughts on having my son join the boy scouts if sexual identity is at play.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Oh Bill, you are too much. Christian understanding of homosexulality goes back to St. Paul. Are you saying St. Paul was a pervert? The child abuse issue is called up by people like you who are looking to destroy the Church every chance they get, whether it’s relevant or not. It’s not relevant here. You are a demogogue.

    • http://www.rosariesforlife.com Dave

      Bill, if the problem were due to celibacy, you would expect a MUCH higher rate of abuse among Catholic priests than among the general population. We do not see this. In fact, the rate of abuse among Catholic priests seems to be markedly less than that of the general population (not to mention that the overwhelming majority of the abuse happened between the 1960′s to 1980′s). Check out the detail under item 1 under this link:

      http://www.themediareport.com/fast-facts/

      • Bill S

        Well, since the purpose of being a priest is to live a good life, you would expect a very high percentage of priests to live exemplary lives thereby bringing down the percentage that are abusers. You can’t compare that percentage to that of the general population which consists of everyone including the dregs of society. Of course they are not going into the priesthood.

        I agree with Manny that we have strayed way off the subject (unless someone is trying to make a direct link between child abuse and homosexuality).

        • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

          “(unless someone is trying to make a direct link between child abuse and homosexuality).”

          There is a direct link to why a homosexual/bisexual man or adolescent would want to sexually exploit a 15-yr old boy, just as there is a direct link to why a man or adolescent who is heterosexual would want to sexually exploit a 15-yr old girl.

    • Bill S

      You are right, Manny. It is not relevant. Is demogogue a good thing or a bad thing?

  • http://textsincontext.wordpress.com Michael Snow

    Also supporting the homosexual agenda, is the CEO of ATT who is on the Boy Scouts’ board. Pleas support the American Family Association in their petition drive:
    http://secure.afa.net/afa/activism/SignPetition.asp?id=2000
    or see the AFA’s facebook page

    • pagansister

      Support the AFA? Not in this lifetime.

  • Bill S

    It is much more likely that heterosexuals will harass homosexuals than the other way around. Almost everything you have said is extremely homophobic and alarmist. Just dig down deep and try to muster up some compassion for gays and what they have to go through. Stop trying to make it seem like they are just a bunch of perverts waiting to pounce on and rape some poor unsuspecting red blooded heterosexual.

    • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

      “It is much more likely that heterosexuals will harass homosexuals than the other way around.”

      Wrong, the majority of abusers, harassers, and traffickers of tween and adolescent boys have a homosexuality or bisexuality problem. Stop blaming heterosexuals for violations perpetrated by homosexuals and bisexuals.

      Your comments display nothing but a desire to trivialize, minimize, and outright deny the extent and gravity of harmful behavior by homoseuxals and bisexuals. Obviously because you can care less about all the boys that are victimized by them.

      • Bill S

        Please excuse my name calling. It is not allowed on this website.

        When you say: “Your comments display nothing but a desire to trivialize, minimize, and outright deny the extent and gravity of harmful behavior by homoseuxals and bisexuals.” are you trying to say that men who identify themselves as gay are more likely to do the things that you fear than men who hide their perversions (and I don’t mean homosexuality)? Because I think that a Leader or a scout who is honest enough to be open about his sexuality is more to be trusted, not less to be trusted, to act in a responsible and appropriate manne.

        Again, my apologies for the name calling.

        • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

          I think there are so many problems that can happen in the area of sexuality related to people with a homosexual problem, not just abuse of small children. As to who might do more sexual harassment of tweens and adolescents and adults, for example, I don’t have a guess regarding who would do more, those who are closeted or those who are not. They both have similar motivations.
          What makes a difference is the environment – the more you have an environment that normalizes homosexuality, the more homosexual sexual harassment there is. No doubt about that. And the more empowered homosexuals/bisexuals are to harass others with impunity.

  • Bill S

    Well Alessandra, you’ve been spared from the comments that I sent you since they have been deleted. I clicked on your name to copy and paste it and was sent to your website.

    I have two sons, Stephen who is 31 and Kevin who is 29. Stephen is gay and Kevin is straight. Stephen (named after the first Christian martyr) is as gentle as a lamb. Kevin is more aggressive.

    As Stephen’s father, I can’t even begin to tell you just how offensive your website is with its attacks on gays and what you describe as the homosexual agenda. How dare you spew your homophobic rhetoric, even on your own site.

    Both my sons would be great scout masters. They were both in scouting and neither of them bothered anyone. I resent your judgement of my son, because that is exactly what you are doing.

    • http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/ Alessandra

      I can’t even begin to tell you how offensive everything you wrote here is. How dare you spew your vitriolic rhetoric, here or elsewhere?
      We can all play this “how dare you” game, you see. You think you are above criticism and accountability for your views? As you might have been able to see by my web site, I disagree.
      People who are in denial that there are homosexuals and bisexuals who sexually abuse, exploit, and traffic adolescent boys are exactly the ones who empower the perpetrators and exploiters out there. You seem fit the profile with all your “how dare you” talk. The priority here is the well-being of the most vulnerable boys in the boys scouts. The ones you could care less about by shoving homosexuality as normal in the Boy Scouts.

      • Bill S

        Whether you agree or not, homosexuals are considered to be normal by those qualified to make such a judgement such as professional psychologists. I know you are trying to protect the boys but you shouldn’t try to do it at the expense of the entire gay population. As the father of a gay son, I find your approach to be despicable.


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