The Washington Post

President Obama said Sunday that the Boy Scouts of America should end its ban on gay members and Scout leaders.

With the venerable national organization weighing whether to lift its prohibition on gays, Obama was asked in a Super- Bowl pregame interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley whether the Boy Scouts should be open to gays.

Obama gave a one-word answer: “Yes.”

Pressed to elaborate, the president said, “I think that 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.”

Last August the White House said Obama disagreed with the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay members, but Sunday’s interview was the first time Obama publicly addressed the issue since the Boy Scouts said last week it would consider lifting the ban.

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Boy Scouts leaders are expected to discuss lifting the ban on gays at its national executive board meeting this week in Texas.

On Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican presidential candidate in 2012, spoke to a group of Texas Scouts and urged the organization to maintain its policies prohibiting openly gay members.

“Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make scouting this very important and impactful organization,” Perry said, according to the Associated Press.

Perry, a former Eagle Scout, wrote a book in 2008 titled “On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For.”

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.


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