Robert Gates, president of the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America, has called on the organization to change its policy on gay scout leaders.
“I remind you of the recent debates we have seen in places like Indiana and Arkansas over discrimination based on sexual orientation, not to mention the impending U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer on gay marriage,” he said.
He said he wasn’t asking the board to make any changes at this meeting, but said he was speaking to them as bluntly as he did when he headed the CIA and Defense Department.
“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” he said.
Gates said more councils will contest the gay ban and the BSA could revoke their memberships. As states implement nondiscrimination policies, he said, the Boy Scouts could simply be ordered to change its employment policies.
“We must all understand that this probably will happen sooner rather than later,” he said.
Gates said it was better to act sooner and create policies that would allow church-chartered troops to set standards consistent with their religious beliefs and allow others to follow their beliefs.
Resource Center CEO Cece Cox released the following statement:
“The Center supports President Gates’ call for the Boy Scouts of America to end the ban that has forced LGBT Scout leaders to lie about who they are. It is a common-sense reflection of where the nation is on LGBT issues and involvement in everyday life.
“We urge Scouting leadership to take formal action and repeal the ban. Qualified LGBT Scout leaders should be able to participate in and contribute to an iconic American institution where honesty and trustworthiness are bedrock principles, without a dated and arcane policy standing in the way.
“The announcement from President Gates is yet another step toward comprehensive change that the Center first called for in February 2013. We would like to see the Scouts ensure open participation in all its activities by adopting a comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination policy. The Center is hopeful that Scouting will make this positive change.”