After three weeks of silence on the issue, the White House said Wednesday that President Obama opposes the Boy Scouts’ recently reaffirmed policy of excluding gays.
Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Scouts, has no plans to resign that post, White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the Associated Press.
After a two-year review, the Scouts said last month that they will continue their long-standing policy of barring gay members and scout leaders.
“The president believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century,” the White House said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. “He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.”
The Boy Scouts responded with a brief statement. “The Boy Scouts of America respects the opinions of President Obama and appreciates his recognition that Scouting is a valuable organization,” it said. “We believe that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good.”
In a 1994 political debate in Massachusetts, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed support for gay participation in the Scouts, but said it was up to the organization to decide.
“I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue,” Romney said then. “I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”