By Eric Bradner
WASHINGTON — Rick Perry opposes openly gay leaders in the Boy Scouts of America, he said Sunday, even after that organization dropped its ban on such scoutmasters.
“I believe that scouting would be better off if they didn’t have openly gay scoutmasters,” the former Texas governor and 2016 GOP presidential candidate said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
The Boy Scouts dropped its policy banning gay scouts in 2013. And earlier this month, the organization also dropped its ban on gay scoutmasters after a push by the group’s national president, former Defense Secretary Bob Gates.
His comments come as Republicans court socially conservative voters in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June decision legalizing same-sex marriage everywhere in the United States.
Conservatives have responded by pushing state-level measures to protect businesses from having to participate in same-sex marriage ceremonies in the name of religious freedom. Republican presidential candidates have also said they disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that aired Sunday that he doesn’t know if being gay is a choice. And he said he supported the Boy Scouts of America’s old ban on openly gay scoutmasters.
“I thought the policy was just fine. I’m saying when I was in scouts, it was fine. You’re asking what should the policy be going forward. It should be left up to the leaders of the scouts,” Walker said.