President Obama opposes the recently affirmed Boy Scouts policy of banning gay members, according to a statement from the White House sent in response to a Washington Blade inquiry.
“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,” White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said in the statement. “He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.”
In a follow-up email, Inouye said Obama won’t resign or relinquish his position as honorary president of the Boy Scouts as result of this position.
The Boy Scouts of America affirmed its gay ban last month after a two-year review of the policy.
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Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesperson, said his organization respects the opinion of the president and believes good people can personally disagree on the issue.
“The Boy Scouts of America respects the opinions of President Obama and appreciates his recognition that Scouting is a valuable organization,” Smith said. “We believe that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good.”
Among the organizations working to lift the ban is the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which has been championing the issue after lesbian den leader Jennifer Tyrrell was expelled from the organization ostensibly because of her sexual orientation.
Herndon Graddick, GLAAD’s president, responded to the White House statement by saying numerous political leaders have come out against the ban prohibiting openly gay people from being in the Boy Scouts.
“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,” Graddick said. “It’s clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future.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?”