Obama opposes Boy Scouts gay ban, homophobes support it

In a pre-Superbowl interview President Obama came out against the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on “gays.” CBS’s Scott Pelley said, “next week the board of the Boy Scouts of America is going to vote on whether to end their national ban on gays in scouting. Should scouting be open to the gays?” And Obama’s response was unequivocal: “Yes.” When asked, “why so,” Obama explained,

“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. And The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives. And I think nobody should be barred from that.”

http://youtu.be/fgkf47t9v3E

But not everyone is as committed to, like, equality, fairness, opportunity and access. Guess who hearts the ban against gay membership! I’ll give you a hint. They’re both named Rick. 

Intellectual heavyweight Governor Rick Perry offered an extremely thoughtful analysis on why the Scouts should stay gay-free:

“Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make Scouting this very important and impactful organization. I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I… To have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate.”

In other words, change is inappropriate. That should be the GOP’s official motto. Another Rick, Rick Santorum, is also against dropping the ban, as he subtly suggested in a WND column entitled “Stop the War on Scouts.” So, the “War on Women” is a figment of our Feminazi imagination, but the War on Scouts is real? I think Santorum’s confusing that with a fight against intolerance, bigotry and homophobia.

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Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/jacquekr/ Jackie

    I support the Boy Scouts for no other reason that they are a private group, and private groups should be able to make up their own rules. I don’t want someone coming into any private group and telling me what I should/should not do.

    I also think not being accepting of people that are different than you (i.e. people that don’t agree with homosexuality) is very close-minded and intolerance. We should all be allowed to believe what we want to believe and move on with our lives, yes? It’s when we force people and groups to think like we do that we show real intolerance.

    • http://feministing.com/members/smiles/ Smiley

      Jackie,

      I was going to ask that question! Namely: what restrictions can a group impose on its membership?

      If a synagogue requires that its members be Jews, is that illegal? Is a feminist group allowed to asks that its members adhere to some basic principles or aims?

      Do the restrictions have to be ‘reasonable’?

      If the Boy Scouts add a clause ‘… and I promise to be straight’ would that pass? If it did, why don’t they simply vote that on to the rulebook?

      • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

        Bullshit. Jewish people can choose to practice Judaism, and people can choose to be feminist. Banning someone over something they have no control over is ridiculous and discriminatory.

    • http://feministing.com/members/sapadu/ Jacqueline Hentzen

      …Dude? Are you HEARING yourself?

      That’s about the same as if you were to say “We shouldn’t tell Muslims not to oppress their women — it’s part of their CULTURE, and it’s none of our business. We shouldn’t interfere with their PRIVATE decisions and culture.”

      And, by the way, the Boy Scout Law is that a Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. By banning people from an organization just for being gay, you are being neither Friendly, Courteous, or Kind.

      Boom.

      • http://feministing.com/members/smiles/ Smiley

        Jacqueline,

        Can a mosque refuse membership to a Jew or a Christian? I presume yes.

        Can it force women into segrgated areas? Yes, it does.

        Can Sharia law force unequal divorce settlements. Yes (I think).

        Are you prepared to enforce changes to the rules of that mosque? Yes? No?

        • http://feministing.com/members/sapadu/ Jacqueline Hentzen

          Yes, yes I am prepared to enforce changes — because that is discrimination.

          • http://feministing.com/members/smiles/ Smiley

            Jacqueline,

            Well, at least I have to agree that you are being consistent.

            Which is worth pointing out because so many people are prepared to find exceptions when it suits them. Semi-naked women on magazine covers? Bad, right? Well, no, if it is someone we like (:). And so on.

            However, I am actually not sure if going against all forms of discrimination is warranted or desirable. After all, all sports teams discriminate on gronds of abilty, and I guess many industries discriminate against less attractive people.

      • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

        That’s about the same as if you were to say “We shouldn’t tell Muslims not to oppress their women — it’s part of their CULTURE, and it’s none of our business. We shouldn’t interfere with their PRIVATE decisions and culture.”

        Not the same thing.

        • http://feministing.com/members/sapadu/ Jacqueline Hentzen

          NO! Actually, it’s the EXACT same thing. She is literally making the argument that, because it is a private organization, it is TOTALLY cool for them to be discriminatory if they want to be. It’s none of our business to interfere if they want to discriminate.

          Oh, wait, except it totally is because discrimination is ILLEGAL.

          (P.S. Just because there are organizations where Muslim women are not being oppressed does not change the tradition and the fact that there are still attitudes in many Muslim communities that women are subservient and the property of men — see “Honor Killings”. Just the same as how, just because there are laws that women must be paid the same as men in the same jobs doesn’t mean that they ARE, etc)

          • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

            Because a non-Muslim knows more about being a Muslim than millions of Muslims do?

            That’s why it’s NOT THE SAME THING.

            You could’ve used any example from western culture, such as the pay gap you just mentioned in your previous post, but you decided to show off your xenophobia and go for the OMG!MUSLIMS!11 angle. Here’ s a tip: Straighten up your own house before you go rearranging someone else’s furniture.

    • http://feministing.com/members/james/ James

      I’m not seeing anyone trying to “force” the Boy Scouts to accept gay members; there is a lot of social and cultural pressure on them to do so, but I’ve seen little if any rhetoric calling for them to be forced to accept gay members and leaders by law.

      The Boy Scouts, a private organization, are free to accept or reject whoever they want—and we, as private citizens, are allowed to express our approval or disapproval of their organization for who they accept or reject, and make decisions about what organizations or companies we support on that basis. That’s how free speech is supposed to work—and in this case, it seems to be working exactly as intended. There’s no “forcing” being done here.

      As to your second point, people are free to believe exactly what they want to believe—but once they bring those beliefs outside of themselves, either by expressing them as speech or by trying to impose them on others through culture, organizational structure, or law, those beliefs are subject to critique from others expressing their own beliefs.

      The whole “why aren’t you tolerant of the intolerant?” thing really doesn’t hold a lot of water when we consider that the intolerant aren’t just remaining privately and inwardly intolerant, but are rather trying to use culture, organization, or law to impose their intolerance on others.

  • http://feministing.com/members/sapadu/ Jacqueline Hentzen

    “Because a non-Muslim knows more about being a Muslim than millions of Muslims do?

    That’s why it’s NOT THE SAME THING.

    You could’ve used any example from western culture, such as the pay gap you just mentioned in your previous post, but you decided to show off your xenophobia and go for the OMG!MUSLIMS!11 angle. Here’ s a tip: Straighten up your own house before you go rearranging someone else’s furniture.”

    I used the example of Islam culture because the example would make more sense in the context of the argument. Is it unfair that every individual gets lumped in with the bad behavior of other Muslim communities that hide behind the “It’s our culture” defense? Yes, because not everyone does it. But there are plenty who DO. That was my point — she’s making the argument that, if it’s a separate society’s ideal or tradition, they should be free to do whatever they want, even if it’s despicable. We don’t let that shit slide in the cases of humans rights violations that Muslim (Or, for that matter Catholic communities) commit when they claim that it’s just part of their culture. We shouldn’t let it go for the boy scouts.

    As for your other comments, I am making NO such remarks — go back and read what I wrote before you jump on the xenophobe angle. Perhaps I poorly worded it, but there is NO anti-Islam sentiment in there (anti-bullshit is different from anti-any kind of religion or culture)

    • http://feministing.com/members/angelh/ Angel H.

      I used the example of Islam culture because the example would make more sense in the context of the argument.

      And yet in your previous comment and your most recent one (“Catholic communities”), you can find western examples to use to support your point…after you called out on your xenophobia.

      For what it’s worth, I agree with your main point. But when a suppposed “ally” attempts to make her argument by pointing fingers at an already marginalized community, I’m giving serious side-eye.

      Oh, and you do know that there are Muslim Boy Scouts and gay Muslims, right?

      • http://feministing.com/members/sapadu/ Jacqueline Hentzen

        Yes. And good for them. Also, I pulled the Muslim argument because it would push buttons. Thank you for proving my point.