Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama agrees that Boy Scouts of America (BSA) should accept gays and lesbians as religious groups urged parents not to lift BSA’s ban on gay scout members and leaders.
Obama replied, “Yes” when CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley asked him Sunday in an interview ahead of Super Bowl XLVII if scouting should be open to gays. The President said “gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity just like everyone else.”
But 42 religious groups are coming up with an ad in USA Today on Monday that calls on BSA members to resist political pressures to lift the organization’s no gay policy. The ad also denounces BSA’s decision to consider accepting openly gay scouts.
Meanwhile, at the Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving, Texas, a group representing gay Boy Scouts and Scout leaders presented a petition urging BSA to lift a ban on gay members.
Will Oliver, a 20-year-old gay Eagle Scout from Duxbury, Massachusetts, and Eric Andresen, the father of a gay Scout who was denied his Eagle Award were among those who presented 1.4 million signatures of supporters.
In a speech, Oliver said he concealed his sexual orientation as a scout until he received his Eagle Award, the highest award in the boy scouting program. He said the ban that forces others like him to hide their true identity should end.
The signatures were presented as the BSA’s board of directors were conducting a three-day meeting at its Irving headquarters.