This week, the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America will reconsider the organization’s policy of barring gay Scouts and leaders. As a result of this proposed change, many conservatives are urging the group to maintain its discrimination.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has written extensively about how the Boy Scouts affected his life, and he reiterated those thoughts to hundreds of Texas Scouts who gathered in the state House of Representatives on Saturday for their annual Report to State. Speaking to reporters afterward, Perry defended the discriminatory policy:
PERRY: Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make Scouting this very important and impactful organization. I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I… To have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate.
Perry also disagreed that a change would make the Scouts more tolerant, claiming, “I think you get tolerance and diversity every day in Scouting.”
Fellow former presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has offered a similar screed against the proposed change in the Scouts’ policy, suggesting the board’s vote this week is “a challenge to the Scouts’ very nature” that will cause a “mass exodus,” “leaving the Scouts hollowed at its core.” Indeed, a whole coalition of anti-gay hate groups is calling on the Scouts’ to maintain the policy because of the false assumption that all homosexuals are pedophiles.
Over the weekend, President Obama disavowed all of these claims in a pre-Super Bowl interview, saying that the Scouts should drop the policy because “gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does in every institution and walk of life.” Obama has previously condemned the policy because he “opposes discrimination in all forms.”