The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organisation, released the following statement after former Texas Governor Rick Perry said on Meet the Press that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) would be “better off” without openly LGB employees and volunteers. Perry’s comments came days after the BSA’s Executive Committee recommended that the organisation end its blanket ban on LGB adults, although the committee’s proposal allows certain local exemptions.
Perry is the second candidate this week to suggest BSA should be able to deny lesbian, gay, and bisexual people the ability to work and volunteer for the organisation. Scott Walker said again today he thought the policy was “fine,” according to CNN.
“Rick Perry’s hurtful and offensive comments this morning are yet another reminder of how much ‘better off’ our nation is with him out of public office, and especially the White House,” said JoDee Winterhof, Senior Vice President of Policy and Political Affairs for the Human Rights Campaign. “The rest of the candidates need to make clear they don’t agree with Rick Perry and Scott Walker’s support of the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy.”
Earlier this year, BSA President Robert Gates, a former Secretary of Defense under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, characterised BSA’s discriminatory policies as “unsustainable.” The Boy Scouts of America last year began allowing openly gay youth to participate in the organisation as scouts, thanks in large part to grassroots work by Scouts for Equality and its executive director Zach Wahls, and advocacy by supportive scouts, scout leaders, and scouting parents.
Perry has a track record of opposing measures to prevent discrimination against LGBT people. In his last campaign for president, he ran a TV ad opposing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Perry also attacked the Obama Administration’s work to protect LGBT people around the world from discrimination, and he opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would have protected LGBT workers in the United States from employment discrimination. And he defended Gov. Mike Pence’s license to discriminate legislation.