Obama Backs Gay Scouting

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UPDATED: Wednesday, Aug. 8, 5:57 p.m.: The White House confirmed today that President Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, opposes the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy. In a statement released to the Washington Blade, White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said, "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. He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on [the] basis of sexual orientation."



(The Root) — Against the backdrop of the Boy Scouts of America's reiteration of its ban on gay members that has members across the country returning their badges in protest, and a Scouts for Equality campaign pressuring the organization to cease its discriminatory policy, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign has made his position on the issue clear: Just as he said in a 1994 debate, he still believes that "all people should be able to participate in Boy Scouts, regardless of sexual orientation," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul confirmed to the Associated Press. "[T]his remains Romney's position today," she said.

Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls moved quickly to launch a new site featuring Romney among Eagle Scouts, Scout leaders, politicians and celebrities who support gays participating in the Boy Scouts. 

"Scouts for Equality is proud to have Governor Romney's support on this issue amid such a polarized political climate," said Wahls. "His leadership is to be commended, and we hope he can set an example of how people with differing religious beliefs can come together to support the Boy Scouts of America's mission to serve our communities and develop tomorrow's leaders, regardless of sexual orientation."

Meanwhile, President Obama, who by virtue of his office is automatically honorary president of the Boy Scouts, hasn't explicitly weighed in on the question of whether the organization should admit gay members.

Does he need to? Everybody knows which side he's on anyway, Richard Socarides, a former Clinton White House adviser on gay rights, told ABC. Rep. Barney Frank, an openly gay member of Congress, agreed, pointing to the president's already stated stance on gay marriage and saying that there were "bigger fish to fry."


Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root's staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.