Obama speaks out on boy scout controversy…still no speech on Chicago Murders

Obama: Scouts shouldn’t discriminate


2/3/13 5:22 PM EST

President Barack Obama on Sunday said the Boy Scouts of America should end its prohibition on gay membership because “nobody should be barred” from the opportunities it provides.

“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,” Obama said in a CBS News interview. “The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives.”

The Boy Scouts’ national board is expected to vote this week on replacing its ban on gays with a policy that allows local groups to decide to whether to admit gay members. The possible change has touched off intense debate, pitting proponents such as the president against critics such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said Saturday that the Scout should not bend to popular culture.

Obama’s interview was part of the pre-game show CBS was airing before Sunday evening’s Super Bowl pitting the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Baltimore Ravens.

With Congress heading toward a series of fiscal deadlines, Obama said he does not want to increase tax rates again, but that lawmakers must raise revenue by closing tax loopholes as part of a deficit-reduction deal.

“I don’t think the issue now is about raising rates,” Obama said. “There is no doubt we need additional revenue coupled with smart spending reductions to bring down our deficits.”

Obama reiterated his concern about football players’ long-term health, given their higher incidence of diseases of the brain as compared to the general population. But he praised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for committing $30 million to the National Institutes of Health for medical research on head injuries and other serious conditions that impact players.

“I do think we want to make sure that after people play the game, that they’re going to be OK,” he said.

Obama said he planned to return to the residence after the interview to watch the Super Bowl.

“I got some wings waiting for me upstairs,” he said.