- (Photo: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)
Both major party presidential candidates President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said recently, through spokespersons, that they disagreed with the Boy Scouts of America's recent reaffirmation of its ban on homosexuals. Romney also supports the group's right to have such a ban.
Romney first expressed his view in a 1994 debate when he was running for the U.S. Senate.
"I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation," Romney said at the time.
In an email to The Associated Press Saturday, Andrea Saul, a spokesperson for the Romney campaign, said that Romney's position has not changed.
Then on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Shin Inouye told the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, "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. He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on [the] basis of sexual orientation."
Obama had not previously made any public statements since the Boy Scouts announced last month its decision to maintain its ban on openly homosexual scout members, volunteers and leaders. The organization spent two years reviewing the policy before deciding to maintain the ban.
Obama is currently honorary president of the Boy Scouts. Inouye said the president has no plans to resign from that position.
In a statement to The Washington Post, the Boy Scouts said that it respects Obama's opinion and believes that "good people" can disagree and still work together to "accomplish the common good."
Boy Scouts of America is over 100 years old and one of the nation's largest private youth development organizations.