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Robert Gates: Would Have Allowed Gay Adults in Scouts

May 25, 2014
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Robert GatesRobert Gates, the new president of the Boy Scouts of America, said Friday that he would have moved last year to allow openly gay adults in the organization but said he opposes any further attempts to address the policy now.

Gates took over an organization this week that serves about 2.5 million youth but faces continued membership declines and fights over its inclusion of openly gay boys, but not adults. Gates, the former secretary of defense who oversaw the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, addressed those issues Friday, a day after Scouting’s national leadership elected him president.

“I was prepared to go further than the decision that was made,” Gates told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of a speech before the group’s national leaders at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. “I would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country.”

The BSA’s National Council voted at last year’s annual meeting to accept openly gay youth, after a monthslong process with protests on both sides. Gates planned to tell Scouting’s leaders Friday that a continued fight over the issue threatens BSA’s future.

“Given the strong feelings — the passion — involved on both sides of this matter, I believe strongly that to re-open the membership issue or try to take last year’s decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement — with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own,” Gates said in prepared remarks.

Gates, 70, who also served as director of the CIA, is a visible advocate for Scouting as it faces a storm of bad publicity.

The Scouts reached out to Gates as he was retiring from the Defense Department and asked him to join their leadership, said Wayne Perry, the departing BSA president. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who was expected to become president this year, agreed to wait another two years to allow Gates to serve now, Perry said.

“We need America to know what the Boy Scouts can do for the youth of America,” Perry said, adding that Gates “immediately can reach an audience that we wouldn’t otherwise reach.”

Gates earned his Eagle Scout award as a 15-year-old growing up in Wichita, Kansas. He has long credited that achievement for giving him the confidence to excel in nearly five decades of public service, and he stayed involved in Scouting during his career. He has recalled skeet-shooting with young Scouts while he was director of the CIA.

Along the way, Gates became known as someone willing to speak frankly about problems in the institutions he led, often at the risk of offending others. Gates warned BSA’s leaders Friday that “maybe it’s time for blunt talk.”

Over the last decade, the Scouts have faced small, but consistent declines in membership. Also, high-profile sponsors and corporate donors, including Disney and Lockheed Martin, have cut funding over the exclusion of openly gay adults. Meanwhile, a handful of conservatives who opposed the inclusion of openly gay boys started their own organization, Trail Life USA.

Gates told the AP that he wanted to move the Scouts past that debate and focus on what unites the membership. He said he would push for a heavier focus on local marketing and sharing positive stories about Scouting efforts that are sometimes drowned out by debates over gay rights or child abuse lawsuits filed against the Scouts in several states.

He said he would emphasize to sponsors that “welcoming gay youth is an important step forward.”

Gates led the Defense Department when it phased out the ban on openly gay soldiers known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” something gay-rights groups have cited as a hopeful sign for them. But Gates said Friday that the Scouts were different from the CIA or the military, where “I could give an order and people would follow it, at least most of the time.” In an organization driven almost entirely by volunteers, officials have to respect differences in opinion, he said.

“The key at this point is to keep focus, again, on the top priority, which is, how do we develop the best possible program for kids, and how do we keep their interests at the forefront?” Gates said.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Michael in Maricopa County permalink
    May 25, 2014 12:22 pm

    Gates is suffering from dementia. The only agenda here is, the future establishment of full and active membership of extremely committed gay activists at all levels of the BSA and every other organization – especially governments – so that the ill affects of the glaring divisions between individuals is reached.

    Once the gay advocates are able to worm their way into an organization, the opposition generally see’s the handwriting on the wall and leaves to form their own group as has happened in the BSA. But, the truth of the matter is, that these gay activists gain ground and make great strides in taking over control as to who now will make the rules. And, as we have all seen with the Military’s “don’t ask – don’t tell” BS….gay advocates and supporters are now using our nations Military Chapel’s (Navy and Army and Air force Academy’s) to hold their demonic marriage ceremony’s right at the altar upon which we “sacramental” Christians honor as the place upon which the Bread and wine become the Body and the Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s no small wonder why GOD is mad as hell and HE is not going to put up with it much longer.

    Likewise, since Gates wants bragging rights for allowing the growth of the gay community within the walls of the Military, let him also take credit for paving the road for the newest of recruits….TRANSGENDERS!! And because of the way Politicians and Courts are running scared today, how about the pending challenges that are surfacing where, in one recent example, two men and three women want to get married. And, resurfacing once again is the cry of discrimination from Satan’s demons….NAMBLA….who is actively seeking the approval of law makers to allow adult men to have unrestricted sexual relations with boys of any age. Nest, it will be the women making a similar request.

    We are indeed, a government that is governed by the Rule of Law of which the law is made via majority rule. This does not mean that we can or should trample upon the rights of the minority, as they also are entitled to the same rights as the majority. But, as a Republic, the majority sets the Rules and everyone is expected to abide by them. In a democracy, everyone wants his/her opinion honored and we end up with MOB RULE. As simple as this may sound….even GOD set up a Republic where the RULE OF LAW prevails in every circumstance. The Ten Commandments were never and are not – a set of suggestions. They are the hard rock foundations that keep humans within the boundaries established by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We all know, or at least we should know, the examples given to us in the Bible and we should never discount their application to the formation of nations. We have been given many blessings as Americans. Now, because of our selfish pride and our arrogant and pompous ways, those blessings are being diminished everyday by the things that we allow to be done in the name of equality. Denying gays and their advocates a seat at the table is not an immoral or discriminatory action. It is the act of setting a code of conduct that is acceptable by the majority, and as such, becomes part and parcel of our Rule of Law. The recognition that civilizations are guided by and bond to a specific set of rules is not anti-anything. Rather, it is a compact between like minded men and women as to how they will live and exist and benefit each other as a community and as a nation. If those with different values and views wish to exists within that society, then they must conform to the wishes of the majority. If not, then they need to establish their own community of like minded thinkers and move on with their own journey toward a destiny that they freely have chosen. They must not endeavor to undermine that which the majority has established via the use of weak minded politicians and Courts. That is not a choice, it is an attack on the values of other people who disagree with them.

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