Gov. Perry: Boy Scouts should keep no-gay policy
Asked if he would feel different about the Scouts if the policy is changed, Perry wouldn't say. But he added: "to have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate."
He also disagreed that allowing members of all sexual preferences would make the Scouts more tolerant: "I think you get tolerance and diversity every day in Scouting."
Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group, said Saturday, "It's a shame that Governor Perry has chosen to be on the wrong side of history."
"Governor Perry and the Boy Scouts are both completely out of touch with where America is going on this issue," he said "There should be one national, non-discrimination policy. We can't quite wrap our heads around why that is so difficult to do in 2013."
Perry wrote in his book that he doesn't "believe the teaching of sexual preference fits within the parameters of Scouting's mission," but also made it very clear he'd like to keep gay members from joining.
"Because gay activism is central to their lives, it would unavoidably be a topic of conversation within a Scout troop. This would distract from the mission of Scouting: character building, not sex education," he wrote.
Perry also questioned whether sexual preference is determined at birth or is a matter of personal choice in his book, and wrote that he doesn't believe in "condemning homosexuals that I know personally."
Zach Wahls is an Eagle Scout raised in Iowa by two lesbian moms who has become a leading activist against the no-gays policy. Wahls said by phone Saturday he believes national Scout leaders will soften the membership policy next week, and he hopes the move won't make Perry won't turn his back on the Scouts.
"We've been called bullies and had people say 'you're imposing your will,'" he said. "Our organization isn't calling for the removal of anybody who disagrees with us. We support fully inclusive Scouting."
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