U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday took aim at the Boy Scouts of America, saying it’s refusal to allow gay and lesbian adults to serve as scout leaders “perpetuates the worst kind of stereotypes.”
In remarks prepared for delivery at an event hosted by Lambda Legal, an LGBT rights legal advocacy group, Holder called the ban “a relic of an age of prejudice and insufficient understanding.”
Referencing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Holder said that “courageous lesbian, gay, andbisexual individuals routinely put their lives on the line” in the U.S. armed forces, and that “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.”
Last year, the Boy Scouts of America’s national council voted to allow openly gay youths to join the organization, but has maintained its prohibition on gay adult leaders.
Former Defense secretary Robert Gates, who helped oversee the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and now serves as president of the Boy Scouts, said in a recent interview with the Associated Press that he would have allowed gay adult scout leaders, but that he opposes any further attempts to address the policy now.Holder said Tuesday that “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.”
Earlier Tuesday, Holder delivered remarks at Justice Department’s LGBT Pride Month Celebration, noting that “in recent years, and even in the last 12 months, our nation has made extraordinary strides to overcome obstacles and institutional biases that too often affect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals.”