President Barack Obama said in an interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley today that the Boy Scouts of America should end its long-standing policy banning gay leaders and members.
In recent days, the top leadership of the Boy Scouts has been considering lifting their prohibition on gay members and scout leaders. There’s a chance the scouts will announce a change in their decades-long policy as early as this week, after their regularly scheduled board meeting.
When asked to elaborate on why he thought the Boy Scouts should allow gay members and leaders, Obama had this to say:
“My attitude is … that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life. The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to, you know, opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives, and I think that nobody should be barred (from) that.”
The Boy Scouts have been facing criticism and pressure to change their no-gays policy lately. Two of the CEOS on the Boy Scouts of America’s board, Randall Stephenson of AT&T (NYSE:T) and James Turley of Ernst & Young, have said they would work to end the ban. About 50 local United Way organizations and several other corporations and charities have withdrawn their donations to the Boy Scouts, concluding their policies violate their non-discrimination requirements.
It may turn out that monetary considerations, rather than personal beliefs, could turn the tide in favor of gay scouts and gay leaders going forward.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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