In a statement to the Washington Blade today regarding the the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) history-making vote to approve a resolution that will allow gay youth to participate, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said:
"The President welcomes the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to open its membership to all, regardless of sexual orientation. He has long believed that the Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century."
The new membership standards, which state that 'no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,' will take effect on January 1, 2014. The Boy Scouts' ban on gay adults will remain intact, however. Inouye added that President Obama, like a majority of Americans, thinks the BSA has to drop this part of its ban as well.
"He continues to believe that leadership positions in the Scouts should be open to all, regardless of sexual orientation."
President Obama, as is customary, is also the honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and while he can't open the Boy Scouts up to gay and lesbian parents and volunteers by himself, his support adds a very powerful voice to the chorus of those now urging the BSA to take the next step.
"Gay parents and adults should be accepted into Scouting and our campaign for change will continue until that happens," said GLAAD spokesperson Rich Ferraro. "As openly gay youth begin participating in Scouting and earn Eagle Rank, the Boy Scouts will come to realize that gay Americans and our families only strengthen Scouting as an institution."
GLAAD, in association with Change.org, Scouts for Equality (SFE), and the Inclusive Scouting Network (ISN), delivered over 1.8 million signatures to the BSA urging them to drop their discriminatory ban on gay members.
For photos, video, resources and more, please visit http://glaad.org/scouts
For a full timeline of events leading up to today's vote, please visit http://glaad.org/scouts