Bowing to pressure from homosexual rights groups, President Barack Obama called for an end to a ban on homosexual members and leaders instituted by the Boy Scouts of America. Speaking in a February 3 interview with CBS anchor Scott Pelley that aired just before the Super Bowl football game, Obama answered "Yes" when asked whether the private youth organization should be open to homosexuals. BSA is expected to render a vote this week on whether to amend its long-standing rule.
For more than a century the Boy Scouts of America have been known for their pledge: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." This has long been interpreted to mean a prohibition of behaviours at odds with basic Judeo-Christian precepts prohibiting homosexual or paedophilic acts. A change in the long-standing rule is expected to allow individual Scout troops to either permit or prohibit actively homosexual leaders and members.
Obama, who supports same-sex marriage, said that male and female homosexuals should be allowed to particpate in "every institution" that others do. Said the chief executive, "My attitude is ... that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life."
Facing opposition to their policy regarding homosexual activity, the BSA national executive board is expected to vote on February 6, culminating a three day meeting. In December 2012, BSA said that it may end its ban on homosexual boys and adult leaders.
Obama has been sympathetic to demands from homosexual rights organizations ever since he came to office in 2008. For example, he ended the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy instituted during the Clinton administration that instituted restrictions on homosexual behaviour among members of the US military. Obama also stopped any effort by the federal government to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbade same-sex couples from obtaining the same benefits obtained by traditional marriages. Obama once again spoke of his support to initiatives on the part of homosexual rights groups during his second inaugural address in January 2013.