Robert M. Gates, the former secretary of defense and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was elected president of the Boy Scouts of America on Thursday. As Secretary of Defense, he led the military in the dismantling of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. Will he lead the Scouts to change its policy on gay Scouts and leaders?
Mr. Gates, 70, who has also been president of Texas A&M University, is the rare Boy Scouts president to have a national reputation before being elected, which could become important as pressure on the group persists from corporations, religious groups and advocates for equal rights.
While serving as defense secretary, he supported the 2010 repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military….
…When he oversaw the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Mr. Gates said that “a policy that requires people to lie about themselves somehow seems to be fundamentally flawed — we couldn’t agree more,” said Zach Wahls, the executive director of Scouts for Equality, a group composed largely of former Scouts seeking to overturn the ban. “And even if some of the membership of a group might disagree, it is his role to lead and to chart a path forward. He did that in the military, and I hope he will do it here.”