Governor Rick Perry: ‘I think the Boy Scouts should keep its anti-gay policy’

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Texas Governor Rick Perry has said that he thinks the Boy Scouts of America shouldn’t remove its ban on openly gay scouts, volunteers and staff.

The Republican Governor was speaking to an annual gathering of scouts from around Texas on Saturday, and when asked about the policy he said he thought it didn’t need to be changed.

He said: “I think most people see absolutely no reason to change [the policy].”

The Boy Scouts of America announced earlier this week that it could soon lift its national ban on allowing gay members, volunteers and staff, as its board will vote next week on a resolution which would effectively do so.

NBC News reported on Monday that BSA national leaders are “actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay Scouts or Scout leaders.”

In July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

In Governor Perry’s 2008 book, On My Honor, he discusses his love for the Scouts, and says that it should continue to embrace conservative values.

The former presidential hopeful came under fire in 2011 over a promotional ad which said there was “something wrong with our country” when gays can serve in the military, but children cannot “celebrate Christmas or pray in school”.

The BSA has come under pressure from religious organisations which have put pressure on it not to change its policy.

This week, one US radio host said the scouts should “shut down” rather than allow gays in, and that these are signs of the “end times”, and another said that allowing gay scout masters would allow “gay activists” to “spread deviant sexuality”.
The Boy Scouts have, however, lost funding from several large corporate donors over the policy, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000), Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September, and the Merck Foundation in December. 

Two weeks ago, gay teenager Ryan Andresen received his final decision to say that he had been denied the highest Boy Scouts honour, the Eagle Scout badge.

He had previously thought that the the national Boy Scouts of America organisation would approve his application because he had completed all of the requirements, and received a recommendation for approval from a review board at his local council, and had a 460,000 strong petition in his favour.

After appearing as a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show, the 18-year-old Boy Scout was awarded a $20,000 (£12,476) scholarship towards his college fees. Mr Andresen was also recognised by Assembly Speaker, John Perez, who is openly gay himself, at the California state Assembly

Last week, a synagogue in California became the latest in a list of religious groups to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s policy, described as “damaging”.

A father of two from Brooklyn, New York, recently started his own Boy Scouts troop, inclusive of gay members, and girls, to allow his son to be a member without having to accept the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.