• Boy Scouts President Bob Gates: The Ban on Gay Scout Leaders Is Unsustainable

    Robert Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, called for the organization to end its longstanding ban on gay adults at the organization’s annual national meeting Thursday in Atlanta.

    “We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be,” said Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense. “The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”

    “We cannot ignore growing internal challenges to our current membership policy from some councils,” he said. “Nor can we ignore the social, political and juridical changes taking place in our country — changes taking place at a pace over this past year no one anticipated.”

    Gates said a legal fight could put the BSA in the same vulnerable position the armed forces faced at the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a policy that barred openly gay individuals from serving in the military.

    “Waiting for the courts is a gamble with huge stakes,” he said. “If we wait for the courts to act, we could end up with a broad ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard, including our foundational belief in our duty to God and our focus on serving the specific needs of boys.”

    “We can act on our own, or we can be forced to act, but either way, I suspect we don’t have a lot of time,” he said.

    Gates said last year that he was opposed to reconsidering the issue of gay adult leaders during his two-year term as the group’s president, but internal pushback and the current political climate have forced his hand.

    “I had hoped then for a respite during which we could focus on healing our divisions from the 2013 decision, improving our program, strengthening our finances and ending our decline in membership,” he added.

    About 70 percent of scouting units across the country are sponsored by churches acting as charter organizations.

    The DOJ admitted during oral argument before the Supreme Court a few weeks ago that religious nonprofits will inevitably find their tax-exempt status being challenged in court for opposing gay marriage.

    Two years ago the organization voted to allow gay Scouts, although the ban on gay Scout leaders remains.

    Gates’ remarks on reversing the gay ban begin around 8:45 in the video clip above.

    Alicia Powe

    Staff Writer

    Alicia Powe is a staff writer for Daily Surge. She worked in the War Room of the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee and served as a White House Intern during the George W. Bush administration. Alicia has written for numerous outlets, including Human Events, Media Research Center and Townhall.com.

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