I always knew that Robert Gates was and is one of the most honorable people around in public life, and he has just proven it again by bluntly telling the Boy Scouts of America that they are going to have to change with the times:
Robert M. Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America and former secretary of defense, called on Thursday to end the Scouts’ blanket ban on gay adult leaders, warning the group’s executives that “we must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be.”
Speaking at the Boy Scouts’ annual national meeting in Atlanta, Mr. Gates said cascading events — including potential employment discrimination lawsuits and the impending Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage, as well as mounting internal dissent over the exclusionary policy — had led him to conclude that the current rules “cannot be sustained.”
If the Boy Scouts do not change on their own, he said, the courts are likely to force them to, and “we must all understand that this will probably happen sooner rather than later.”
I am sure that many in the Boy Scouts movement have been made uncomfortable by this kind of talk. It is not easy for any group of people to be told that policies and beliefs to which they have adhered for a long time will have to be changed or tossed to the side. But Gates–as usual–is talking sense, and if the Boy Scouts movement wants to remain relevant in the future, it will listen to what he has to say.
I am selfish enough to wish that the kind of straight talk Gates is known for would still be available to those in government who are responsible for setting national security and defense policy. But I am glad to see that Gates is still doing what he can do in order to move society to a better place.
(Photo found in linked article.)