Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Obama backs gay Scouts

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LOS ANGELES -- Days before the Boy Scouts of America prepared to consider lifting its blanket prohibition on gays, U.S. President Barack Obama reiterated he thinks the ban should end.

In an interview with CBS News airing during the Super Bowl show Sunday, Obama said, "My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life." He called the Scouts "a great institution" that offers skills that benefit children throughout their lives.

The Scouts announced last week its national board would discuss allowing local groups to decide whether to admit gays. The board's meeting begins in Irving, Texas, today.

The announcement follows a decades-old determination to bar homosexual boys and adult leaders, a ban the Scouts reaffirmed in July. Weeks after the organization did so, the White House said Obama opposed the ban.

White House spokesman Shin Inouye said Obama "opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation."

-- Los Angeles Times

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 4, 2013 A9

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