Tags: Obama | Boy Scouts

Romney Backs Gays in Boy Scouts

Wednesday, 08 Aug 2012 05:22 PM

 

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When it comes to gays and the Boy Scouts, both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama say they believe gay youth and counselors should have the right to openly belong and work in the youth organization.

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the Associated Press that Romney's position hasn't changed from what he stated in 1994. At that time, during a political debate, Romney said: "I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation."

In a video of a 1994 speech by Romney released by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Romney, a former national board member of the Boy Scouts of America, said that sexual orientation should not be a factor when it comes to participating in scouting.

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"I feel that all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts, regardless of their sexual orientation," Romney says in the video, prefacing his support for gays and lesbians by stating his belief "that the Boy Scouts of America does a wonderful service for this country. I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue."




The White House also 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 the Scouts' 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 that Scouting 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."

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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 Scouts because 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.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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