Robert Gates served as the Secretary of Defense under then-President George W. Bush beginning in 2006 and stayed on board for part of Barack Obama’s first term. Prior to his appointment, he served 26 years in the CIA–his latter years as Director of Central Intelligence.
During his tenure as Secretary of Defense, Gates advocated for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell–which barred open homosexuality in the military–and expressed his agreement with Obama’s push to do away with the law.
“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be,” he . “The status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained.”
“I support a policy that accepts and respects our different perspectives and beliefs,” he said, adding, “I truly fear that any other alternative will be the end of us as a national movement.”
“Waiting for the courts is a gamble with huge stakes,” he said. “If we wait for the courts to act, we could end up with a broad ruling that could forbid any kind of membership standard, including our foundational belief in our duty to God and our focus on serving the specific needs of boys.”
Such an approach would allow all churches, which sponsor some 70 percent of our Scout units, to establish leadership standards consistent with their faith,” he said. “We must, at all costs, preserve the religious freedom of our church partners to do this.”
“Trail Life USA is saddened by the announcement regarding the anticipated membership change in Boy Scouts of America, as many families and boys will be negatively affected by this departure from their own long-standing principles. It is tragic that the BSA is willing to risk the safety and security of its boys because of peer pressure from activists groups. Trail Life USA remains committed to timeless Christian values and to the hundreds of Charter Organizations and 23,000 members in 48 states.” John Stemberger, Chairman of the Board, Trail Life USA