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Texas Governor Rick Perry: Boy Scouts should keep anti-gay policy

Saturday, February 2, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Gov. Rick Perry said emphatically Saturday that the Boy Scouts of America shouldn’t soften its strict no-gays membership policy, and dismissed the idea of bending the organization to the whims of “popular culture.”

Perry is an Eagle Scout and in 2008 he authored the book “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.” It detailed the governor’s deep love for the organization and explained why it should continue to embrace traditional, conservative values – including excluding openly gay members and Scout leaders.

Gov. Rick Perry, left, bows his head for the invocation during the annual Boy Scouts Parade and Report to State in the House Chambers at the Texas State Capitol, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in Austin, Texas.
Photo: Eric Gay, Associated Press

America’s longest-serving governor addressed the Texas Scouts’ 64th annual Report to State, where hundreds of Scouts from around Texas filled the state House of Representatives to announce their delegation’s recent accomplishments.

Perry has addressed the gathering several times before, most recently in 2010, but not since the announcement that the Scouts’ national leadership is mulling scrapping the mandatory exclusion of gay members. Instead, the group could allow different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units to decide for themselves how to address the issue – either maintaining the exclusion or opening up their membership.

Even though the Boy Scouts reaffirmed the no-gays policy just seven months ago, the proposal is expected to be discussed, and possibly voted on, at the meeting of the Scouts’ national executive board, which begins Monday in Irving, outside Dallas.

Perry told the youngsters that the Scouts was a key reason he joined the U.S. Air Force and later sought public office, and that society’s failure to adhere to the organization’s core values was a cause for high rates of teen pregnancy and wayward youth who grow up to be “men joining their fathers in prison.”

Speaking to reporters afterward, Perry said: “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,” Perry said. He said his views on the subject haven’t changed since writing his book, in which he noted that profits would be donated to the Boy Scouts of America Legal Defense since “they continue to be under attack from the forces of secularism.”

Asked if he would feel different about the Scouts if the policy is changed, Perry wouldn’t say. But he added: “to have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate.”

He also disagreed that allowing members of all sexual preferences would make the Scouts more tolerant: “I think you get tolerance and diversity every day in Scouting.”

Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, said Saturday, “It’s a shame that Governor Perry has chosen to be on the wrong side of history.”

“Governor Perry and the Boy Scouts are both completely out of touch with where America is going on this issue,” he said “There should be one national, non-discrimination policy. We can’t quite wrap our heads around why that is so difficult to do in 2013.”

Perry wrote in his book that he doesn’t “believe the teaching of sexual preference fits within the parameters of Scouting’s mission,” but also made it very clear he’d like to keep gay members from joining.

“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,” he wrote.

Perry also questioned whether sexual preference is determined at birth or is a matter of personal choice in his book, and wrote that he doesn’t believe in “condemning homosexuals that I know personally.”

Zach Wahls is an Eagle Scout raised in Iowa by two lesbian moms who has become a leading activist against the no-gays policy. Wahls said by phone Saturday he believes national Scout leaders will soften the membership policy next week, and he hopes the move won’t make Perry won’t turn his back on the Scouts.

“We’ve been called bullies and had people say ‘you’re imposing your will,’” he said. “Our organization isn’t calling for the removal of anybody who disagrees with us. We support fully inclusive Scouting.”

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65 more reader comments:

  1. And Rick Perry is important how?….

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:03pm
  2. And, Texas should develop an anti-Perry policy.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:04pm
  3. Who?

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:04pm
  4. another republican stuck in stupid

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:05pm
  5. And Texas should get rid of Perry and his homophobic ways

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:05pm
  6. What an irrelevant d-bag.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:05pm
  7. Dingle Perry would be better served to just not speak!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:05pm
  8. He makes me ashamed to ever step foot in Texas, that corrupted trailer trash bastard

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:06pm
  9. Gay rights are whims of “popular culture”? Your a moron Governor Rick Perry! Take off your thousand dollar suit and take a walk where real people live!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:06pm
  10. And this is one of many reasons his campaign bus veered off the road.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:07pm
  11. Why?… this is stupid as heck. ignorance… it’s like not allowing black outfits when there is a base color of peach colored suits in the boy scouts. excluding innocent people to justify nothing but ignorance.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:08pm
  12. Another intolerant idiot.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:08pm
  13. he is so thick and doesnt care how many young suicides there is from that ban, so stupid, just hot air in his head, karma will get him for sure

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:09pm
  14. The National Weather Service has just issued a Giant Asshole Warning for the State of Texas. . .

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:09pm
  15. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAJNntoRgA I would keep my mouth shut about gays Ricky. We have not forgotten about your “Strong” campaign ad from Christmas 2011… remember the one that had 8.6 million views on You Tube, that 92% did not approve/disliked and made you the joke of the Republican party and cost you the election. You don’t? Well, you can just go Fuck off.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:09pm
  16. Amen Tim! Time to kick out the OLD and bring in the New…this is just wasteful to Texans!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:10pm
  17. Rick Perry should come out of the closet, enough is enough.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:10pm
  18. Rick Perry is an ass and an embarrassment to America.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:10pm
  19. fuck religious fools…

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:12pm
  20. @Jim…..no he should stay in the closet…..us gays don’t want him!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:12pm
  21. Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:13pm
  22. Mmmmm , smell that? Thats good ol’ fashion hate, being taught to our children. America must be soo proud (-_-)

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:13pm
  23. Bye, bye…. Perry!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:13pm
  24. WTF does that JACKASS NIMROD, NITWIT, NINCOMPOOP have to do with the BSA? To hell with him. Shit for Brains, sonofabitchbastard.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:14pm
  25. Rick Perry sucks donkey swipe!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:14pm
  26. I don’t even know how he became govenor with the mental issues he has. There has to be money involved.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:14pm
  27. What a douchebag! Go fuck yourself Rick Perry.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:15pm
  28. Two words for Mr. Perry, Adios muchacho. So can’t wait to vote him out.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:15pm
  29. We should petition the Boys Scouts and the Texas capital!!!….

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:16pm
  30. theres a reason why its called boy”" scouts bc real men are unafraid to accept others for who they are. and bsa if obviously not one of them

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:16pm
  31. Perry always has been a nut job

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:16pm
  32. Rick Perry’s opinion is not worth even considering.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:17pm
  33. Boy Scouts are pussys

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:18pm
  34. eff u rick perry

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:18pm
  35. thanks for your valued opinion Ricky .. now fuck off.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:21pm
  36. Ah such passing whims as equality, don’t bend to popular opinion.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:21pm
  37. One thing I still can’t understand about conservatives is when they say that sex-ed is fundamentally separate from character-building. First they lie about how birth control works, then they lie about why some people are gay, then they preach abstinence — which only makes people hornier by telling them they shouldn’t do anything that’s pleasurable, they lie about rape, they lie about abortion, they cover up paedophilia, and then they finish up by saying sex education has nothing to do with character. Excuse me, I think it clearly has a lot to do with character.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:21pm
  38. Bigot

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:24pm
  39. oh he is relevant now?

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:27pm
  40. Texas should keep rick Perry. The U.S. doesn’t want him for a president.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:31pm
  41. ANOTHER conservative prick I’m tired of hearing from. He should keep his mouth shut.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:33pm
  42. Rick Perry should drown in his own blood and vomit.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:35pm
  43. WHAT A ASS H–E

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:41pm
  44. rick perry has always been so cute… every words that comes out from his mouth are always shitty! lol

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:49pm
  45. start naming hurricanes after morons

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:51pm
  46. Dear Mr. Perry, hope none of your kids or grandkids are gay. You (yes, even you) might feel their pain. Personally, I hope you feel the pain of the rejection you got during the primaries for many days to come.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:58pm
  47. Can you texans get your shoot together and get rid if this embarrassment?!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 3:59pm
  48. Damn him to hell!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:00pm
  49. Shame, shame, shame!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:10pm
  50. As Porky Pig would say: Son of a de-de-son of a de-de, son of a (bitch).

    There’s nothing pure or American about bigotry and discrimination. Fuck Rick Perry.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:13pm
  51. I almost forgot he was alive. Darn! STFU Perry!!! Who cares waht you think?

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:18pm
  52. His statement makes Texas look like they are part of the Nazi party, will not ask, will just do what leader says to do.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:22pm
  53. Aren’t the part of the Nazi party?

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:27pm
  54. I hate to say it, but I am in agreement with Gov. Rick Perry. Boy Scouts are trying to turn back the clock because they are losing monies from their Benefactors and Sponsors. Any offer by the Boy Scouts for Gays to return to the camp is highly SUSPICIOUS and DISINGENUOUS AT BEST! Furthermore, all these years have passed since they kicked Gays out, now they want us back! NO, NO…..I WOULD NOT TRUST THEM ON A DIME! “a Leopard Never Changes It’s Spots!”

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:29pm
  55. humanity to Rick Perry, you should keep your mouth shut on things you know nothing about.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:53pm
  56. Perry is a quack and the fact is the BSA policy is outdated for too long and its time that the lgbt is recognized not only as scouts and leaders that are not pedophiles but just loving parents who want their child to experience all scouting has to offer.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 5:22pm
  57. Noone cares what this jack ass has to say

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 5:29pm
  58. This from the guy who made an anti-gay ad wearing the jacket that was in Brokeback Mountain.

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 5:51pm
  59. He is nuts, so why the worry?

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 5:52pm
  60. yes, and become a thing of the past!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 6:42pm
  61. We are always our own worst enemies: when will his beard Anita say “enough is enough!”

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 7:00pm
  62. Oh well. Rick Perry( sigh!)

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 10:18pm
  63. Rick Perry can suck my Dick!

    Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 10:45pm
  64. The hell with Perry!

    Posted on Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 12:42am
  65. I choose not to stoop to their level. Ignorance is bliss for those who are unwilling to learn anything that doesn’t agree with their personal beliefs. That being said, Rick Perry must be one happy guy. Have a gay day everyone!

    Posted on Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 8:30am