Share This Page

Holder says Boy Scouts perpetuates anti-gay bias

| Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said on Tuesday that the Boy Scouts of America carries on “the worst stereotypes” by barring gay people from becoming Scout leaders.

“The continuation of a policy that discriminates against gay adult leaders — by an iconic American institution — only preserves and perpetuates the worst kind of stereotypes,” Holder said in a speech to the gay civil rights group Lambda Legal in Washington.

Holder did not announce any legal action against the Boy Scouts. A Supreme Court decision 14 years ago said the Scouts, as a private entity, had a right to discriminate against gays.

Last year the Irving, Texas-based organization softened its policy toward gays in a compromise move. After initially saying it intended to allow gays to serve as both Scouts and Scout leaders, it instead allowed openly gay boys to participate in Scouting but continued to prohibit those 18 and older from serving as leaders.

In an approach similar to the “don't ask don't tell” arrangement in place in the U.S. military until three years ago, the group has said it will dismiss gay leaders only if they publicly announce their sexual orientation.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, after he was elected president of the Boy Scouts last month, said he would have preferred that the organization open up completely to gays but that he would not push for it at the moment.

Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith issued a conciliatory statement.

“We recognize there are many opinions on these matters,” he said. “The Boy Scouts of America believes that to disagree does not mean to disrespect; we remain focused on delivering the nation's foremost youth development program.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.