Not surprising but still newsworthy given that he is, after all, the BSA’s honorary president and because I’m not sure we’d have gotten as unequivocal a statement from him a year ago, before he “evolved” on gay marriage. No doubt he would have supported gay scouts even then, but there might have been a “private organizations are free to do as they wish” caveat tacked on in the interest of hedging. When he first took office, there was some grumbling on the left encouraging him to decline the group’s honorary presidency because it doesn’t admit gays and atheists. He ignored that, no doubt because he already knew from his “I oppose gay marriage” charade that gays would forgive him nearly anything in the interest of ultimate liberal victory. Then he caught flak from the right in 2010 when he didn’t attend the BSA’s 100th anniversary celebration, opting to send a video message instead. That’s classic hedging, choosing to keep his distance from the group physically to please his base while offering his congrats to please everyone else. But now that he’s embraced gay marriage, why hedge?
This is also newsworthy because I think it’s a rare case lately of O doing more good than harm for his cause by weighing in. Passing gun control was going to be hard enough for Democrats before Obama took the lead on it and gave Republicans more reason to oppose it. Same with immigration; Dems were so worried about The One turning Senate negotiations toxic by offering his own bill that they begged him privately not to do it. In the case of the BSA, though, Obama’s already proved he can move opinion among social cons in his own base towards greater acceptance of gays. If you’re a Democrat who’s opposed to letting your kid join a BSA unit that includes gays, this might make you think twice. If you’re Republican who’s opposed to letting your kid join a BSA unit that includes gays, who cares what Obama thinks? It’s a net gain for gays to have O’s endorsement.