Obama says Boy Scouts ban on gays must end

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

President Barack Obama said on Sunday that gay people should be allowed in the Boy Scouts of America, and that “nobody should be barred” from the experience of being a scout.

In a pre-Super Bowl CBS interview, Obama said that gay and lesbian people should not be blocked from any opportunities.

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

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 a statement released by the White House last august, Obama said that he opposed the ban. Obama, like presidents for the past century, automatically serves as honorary president of the group.

He said: “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 opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives. And I think nobody should be barred from that.”

The Obamas were hosting a party at the White House in honour of the two teams playing, the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

49ers player, Chris Culliver said in an interview this week that he didn’t think there were any gay players on his team and that they wouldn’t be welcome if there were.

Mr Culliver has since apologised, and said his comments were “hurtful and ugly”, and said they didn’t reflect his true feelings on the issue.

Brendon Ayanbadejo, LGBT rights advocate and player for the Baltimore Ravens said he hoped the negative comments would open a positive debate about gay people in the NFL.

Brendon Ayanbadejo was previously involved in a controversy because he was criticised by a state delegate for speaking in favour of equal marriage.

In November, upon waking to find that Maryland voters had chosen to legalise equal marriage in the state, Ayanbadejo said it was “like Christmas”.

The Boy Scouts have 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.