President Obama opposes Boy Scouts' reaffirmed ban on gays

The White House on Wednesday said Obama opposes the youth organization's recently reaffirmed policy of excluding gays as members and adult leaders.

William Woody/AP
President Barack Obama speaks to supporters at a campaign stop in Grand Junction Colo., on Aug. 8, 2012.

When it comes to gays and the Boy Scouts, President Barack Obama and the youth organization he serves as honorary president have agreed to disagree.

The White House on Wednesday said Obama opposes the youth organization's recently reaffirmed policy of excluding gays as members and adult leaders. He has no plans to resign as honorary president, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said.

The Scouts said in a statement that they respect Obama's opinion and believe that "good people" can disagree on the subject and still work together to "accomplish the common good."

American presidents have been honorary presidents of the Boy Scouts for a century. Obama became theScouts' honorary president in March 2009, shortly after taking office

Last month, after a confidential two-year review, the Scouts reaffirmed their longstanding policy, which has been the target of numerous protest campaigns.

For three weeks, the White House didn't comment on the Scouts' decision. On Wednesday, the press office issued an email to The Associated Press on the subject.

"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," the White House statement said. "He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation."

The Boy Scouts responded with a brief statement from their national headquarters in Irving, Texas.

"The Boy Scouts of America respects the opinions of President Obama and appreciates his recognition thatScouting is a valuable organization," it said. "We believe that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good."

Obama is a staunch supporter of gay-rights, even coming out in support of same-sex marriage earlier this year. Various liberal organizations have called on him to distance the White House from the Boy Scoutsbecause of its exclusionary membership policy.

Two years ago, the Boy Scouts invited Obama to appear at its 100th anniversary jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. The president sent a videotaped message, but the White House said he was unable to attend because of out-of-town commitments to tape a TV appearance and attend Democratic fundraisers.

Obama's Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, has not spoken publicly about the Boy Scouts' policy in recent days. A campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, told the AP that he still stands by his support of the Scouts as he noted in a 1994 political debate in Massachusetts.

"I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue," Romney said then. "I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation."

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.