President Barack Obama said he is in favor of the inclusion of open gays in the Boy Scouts of America. He was asked the question by CBS journalist Scott Pelley on Super Bowl Sunday, giving the answer a high-profile audience of tens of millions.
Obama said "nobody should be barred" from the Boy Scouts: "Gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does."
Meanwhile, two days before an expected vote, the Human Rights Campaign will run a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News on Monday, Feb. 4, calling on the leadership at Boy Scouts of America to end its discriminatory policy prohibiting gay people from Scouting and adopt a national non-discrimination standard.
Last week, BSA representatives indicated the organization would consider changing the policy to instead allow local sponsoring organizations to make their own decisions and potentially discriminate at the local level.
"While the proposed change is a step in the right direction, we can't pretend that passing the buck to the local level will eliminate anti-gay discrimination because it won't," said HRC communications vice president Fred Sainz. "Generations of gay Americans have been told they're not good enough to join the Scouts, simply because of who they are. BSA has an opportunity to change that this week by adopting a non-discrimination policy. Scouting, which has played an important role in American society, will be strengthened by that action."
The ad, which will appear in the print edition of the newspaper Monday morning, encourages readers to call on the BSA board to enact a nationwide anti-discrimination policy. Currently the organization's official policy is to "not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals" as Scouts or adult Scout Leaders.
On Friday, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced more stringent criterion for its Corporate Equality Index. To receive a perfect score in the future, companies would have to prohibit philanthropic giving to non-religious organizations that have a written policy of anti-gay discrimination, or permit its chapters, affiliates, or troops to do so.