Bob Gates to Boy Scouts: End Ban on Gay Leaders
Group's president says 'status quo cannot be sustained'
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2015 1:05 PM CDT
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates addresses the Boy Scouts of America's annual meeting on Friday, May 23, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn.   (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

(Newser) – Former secretary of Defense and current president of the Boy Scouts of America Robert Gates had some tough talk for his organization today, USA Today reports, telling the Scouts' annual meeting that it was time to set aside the group's controversial ban on gay leaders. "I must speak as plainly and bluntly to you as I spoke to presidents when I was director of the CIA and secretary of defense," he said. "We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained." Gates says no change will be made at the meeting, but said he supports a policy allowing local councils to make their own decisions.

Gates' comments met with approval from Scouts for Equality, notes the New York Times. "Dr. Gates has built his reputation on straight talk and tough decisions, and I’m glad he’s fully endorsing a re-evaluation of the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay adults," said president Zach Wahls, who predicted that "a change within the next year or two is imminent." Gates' full comments are here.