A conservative group that wants the Boy Scouts to keep their ban on gays today released an ad apparently countering President Obama’s remarks this weekend urging the scouts to drop the ban.
“To compromise moral principles under political and financial pressure would teach the boys cowardice, not courage,” says the ad by the Family Research Council and a number of other religious and socially-conservative organizations.
In an interview aired Sunday before the Super Bowl, Obama expressed his hope that the ban would become a thing of the past.
“My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunities, the same way as everyone else does, in every institution and walk of life,” Obama told CBS’ Scott Pelley. “And you know the Scouts are a great institution, that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives. And I think nobody should be barred from that.”
A spokesperson for the scouting organization has said BSA leadership was “discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation” but that decision would not come until after today, Feb. 4.
The scouting organization has not said whether the push from the president will sway their decision.
“We appreciate President Obama’s opinion and his recognition of the positive impact Scouting makes on our nation,” BSA spokesperson Deron Smith said.
According to Smith, groups that oversee scouting would still have the freedom to implement policies that suited their beliefs without the rule in place.
Repealing the ban “would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs,” Smith wrote in a statement a week ago. “BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.”
In his first term, the president worked to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the rule that kept gay and lesbian Americans out of the military. Early in his second term, Obama seems to be making advancing rights for that same group an even bigger priority.
President Obama took one of his strongest ever stances in favor of expanding rights for gay and lesbian Americans in his second inaugural address.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said in his address on the Capitol steps after his swearing in. It was the first time a U.S. president mentioned gay rights during inauguration.