WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released the following statement in response to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's assertion that he supports the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)’s discriminatory policy that bars gay, lesbian and bisexual adults from serving as employees and troop leaders. Walker's comments, coming a day after the BSA's Executive Committee recommended that the organization allow LGB adult leaders and volunteers, defended the existing discriminatory ban as one that “protected” children, according to media reports.
“Scott Walker's suggestion that the Boy Scouts of America's current discriminatory policy somehow 'protects' children from gay adults is offensive, outrageous, and absolutely unacceptable," said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. "His comments imply that we represent a threat to the safety and well-being of young people. For a sitting governor and presidential candidate to make such a disgraceful claim is unconscionable. If Scott Walker is trying to get his merit badge in being shamefully irresponsible, he just earned it with flying colors."
HRC calls on Gov. Walker to publicly renounce his statement and apologize, and strongly urges all other presidential candidates to renounce them as well.
"All candidates should show true leadership and support a national policy of inclusion that does not discriminate against anyone because of who they are," said Griffin. "It's long overdue."
Earlier this year, BSA President and former Secretary of Defense (under George W. Bush) Robert Gates characterized BSA’s discriminatory policies as “unsustainable.” The Boy Scouts of America last year began allowing openly gay youth to participate in the organization as scouts, thanks in large part to grassroots work by Scouts for Equality and its executive director Zach Wahls, and advocacy by supportive scouts, scout leaders, and scouting parents.
Walker – an Eagle Scout who has said BSA has helped prepare him to campaign for the presidency -- previously defended Gov. Mike Pence’s bill that would have put LGBT Hoosiers at risk for discrimination by saying opposition was merely people “who are chronically looking for ways to be upset.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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