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Eric Holder: Boy Scouts ban of gay leaders is ‘a relic of an age of prejudice’

Attorney General Eric Holder continues to gain praise in the LGBT community. In remarks to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund on Tuesday, Holder took aim at the Boy Scouts of America for its policy that bans gay adults. The AG told the gay rights group that it is a policy that only “preserves and perpetuates the worst kind of stereotypes.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder attends a meeting with the My Brother's Keeper Task Force to receive a 90-day report on its progress in the Roosevelt Room of the White House May 30, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Although there is little Holder can do as far as forcing a change in policy, speaking out against a ban that the Supreme Court ruled as a constitutional right adds even more momentum to the fight by gay Boy Scout leaders and supporters for “iconic American institution” to instill equality and fairness amongst all members.

Holder used comparisons to the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to support his criticism of the organization. He said, “If these men and women are fit for military service, then surely they are fit to mentor, to teach, and to serve as role models for the leaders of future generations.”

Ironically, the man who helped in the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been recently named as the president of the organization. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was a scout himself, admitted back in May when he was named as the head of the organization’s executive board that he is personally in favor or change, but pursuing it at this time would “irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a permanent split in this movement.” Gates said that his focus is on local recruiting and fundraising.

In the meantime, the organization has lost funding from corporations like Disney because of the ban that still discriminates against gay adults. The group did modify its policy to include gay non-adult members, but there remains hope that the Boy Scouts will eventually become fully inclusive. Holder is also holding onto that hope because as he said in his remarks, the policy is “a relic of an age of prejudice and insufficient understanding.”