The Boy Scouts have finally lifted their ban on including gay members within their ranks. While gay Scout leaders are still barred, young men will be allowed in regardless of orientation. For the sane among us, this is a cause for celebration.
For Gov. Rick Perry, however, this is a sign of faltering morality. Just a few weeks after equating opposition to gay Scouts with opposition to slavery -- no, seriously -- Perry has reacted to this week's vote with as much caustic, divisive idiocy as he could muster.
Perry's statement after the jump:
The Boys Scouts of America has been built upon the values of faith and family for more than 100 years and today's decision contradicts generations of tradition in the name of political correctness. While I will always cherish my time as a scout and the life lessons I learned, I am greatly disappointed with this decision.
"Disappointed." Our governor, citing the hollow notions of "tradition" and "political correctness," is "greatly disappointed" that the Scouts have decided to let young men of minority sexual orientation into their ranks. The governor has somehow found time in his packed legislative schedule to relay how "disappointed" he is that the Scouts have somehow decided to allow anyone, and any minority, into their world.
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It's one thing, Governor, to support banning gay men from joining the Boy Scouts' leadership ranks. These are fully grown adults, entirely capable of concerted, considered decisions. They have options. They likely have a history of dealing with social ostracization, and have found methods with which they can cope when they run into such backward, backwoods roadblocks as being banned from professional positions due to their sexual orientation. These grown men, the ones still banned from being Scout leaders because of an ingrained, inborn character trait, will be fine.
But according to Perry, the young boys who are just discovering their natures and tendencies, the ones for whom social acceptance is of greater import than anything else -- these are the ones whom Perry would hope to sideline. These are the ones our governor believes should remain segregated from their peers, who should be forced to forgo the social bonds and leadership skills imparted by an experience in the Scouts. The inclusion of these young men is the reason Perry stands "greatly disappointed" in the Scouts' decision.
This is an abominable sentiment. Our governor apparently believes in purging the Scout ranks of any kind of perceived sexual impurity. This man supports enforcing the ostracization and closeting of young men who have a suicide rate that, at last check, is seven times higher than that of their heterosexual peers. Through his actions and statements, Perry has not simply pandered to a hard-right Christian contingent that the Jesus of Luke's Gospel would hardly recognize -- he has helped provide more public fuel for all those who would seek to mock Texas.
He has become a stain on this state. He's become a blight on his office. And the rest of us can merely look at his words and stand, as always, greatly disappointed.