Holder: If Gay Adults Are Fit for Military Service, They Are Fit to Lead Boy Scouts

By Susan Jones | June 13, 2014 | 6:17 AM EDT

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The Attorney General of the United States told a homosexual advocacy group on Tuesday night that the Boy Scouts of America "preserves and perpetuates the worst kind of stereotypes" by refusing to allow homosexuals to serve as Boy Scout troop leaders.

"Today, courageous lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals routinely put their lives on the line as members of America's armed services," Holder told Lambda Legal Tuesday night. "And if these men and women are fit for military service, then surely they are fit to mentor, to teach, and to serve as role models for the leaders of future generations."

In June 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5–4 ruling, said the Boy Scouts had a constitutional right, as a private organization, to exclude homosexuals from leadership positions.

Almost nine years later, President Obama came into office, pledging to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In December 2010, he signed a bill passed by the Democrat-majority Congress repealing the ban on homosexual men and women serving openly in the armed services.

Holder received a warm reception Tuesday night at the Lambda Legal reception, where he promised that the fight for civil rights and "LGBT equality" remains a "top priority," not only for the Justice Department, but "for me personally."

Lambda Legal posted a portion of his speech -- the part relating to Boy Scouts -- on its website, as follows:

And in far too many organizations, policies and practices that discriminate against LGBT individuals remain persistent concerns. Lambda Legal is among the groups that have led efforts to address these conditions - for instance, through your work in 1992, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, to challenge the termination of an Assistant Scoutmaster when the organization found out he was gay.

Unfortunately, the continuation of a policy that discriminates against gay adult leaders - by an iconic American institution - only preserves and perpetuates the worst kind of stereotypes. Like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," it's a relic of an age of prejudice and insufficient understanding.

Today, courageous lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals routinely put their lives on the line as members of America's armed services.  They inspire us, they protect us, and they defend us. And if these men and women are fit for military service, then surely they are fit to mentor, to teach, and to serve as role models for the leaders of future generations.


Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart noted the "amazing about of progress" that gays, lesbian, bisexuals and transgenders have made since Obama took office:

"[E]ach year we are in a better position than the year before," Cathcart said. "The leadership and support demonstrated by Attorney General Holder and the administration of President Obama have played, and continue to play, a key role in that progress."

But Cathcart said there's more to do: "But make no mistake, there is still a lot of work to do before LGBT people and people with HIV can live free of discrimination in this country. Lambda Legal is going to continue to do that work until we achieve full equality."