A decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay scouts in their ranks is drawing a lot of reaction here in Texas.
Gov. Rick Perry is an Eagle Scout and for years he has pressured the Boy Scouts of America not to allow openly gay members. He issued a statement saying the decision “contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness.” He said he will always cherish his time as a scout, but says he is “greatly disappointed” with the decision.
The Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council said in a statement that the organization has a right to determine its own membership standards, and says the decision to eliminate the youth membership policy concerning sexual orientation does not change the Scouts’ mission.
Conservative groups were not pleased with the decision. Texas Values says it puts the future of the Boy Scouts of America in jeopardy. Before the vote, Texas Values released a letter with the signatures of dozens of Republican state politicians urging the Boy Scouts not to allow openly gay members. Signatories included State Representative Paul Workman (R-Austin) and State Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels).
The Chair of the Democratic Caucus in the Texas House, Chris Turner, is an Eagle Scout himself. He was among the Texas politicians saying he was pleased by the decision. Turner Tweeted, “Discrimination was not one of the values I learned in scouting.”