Dozens of Republican state lawmakers and several statewide elected officials have signed on to a letter to the Boy Scouts of America encouraging them to maintain the organization's ban on openly gay members.
The signees include U.S. Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Bonham; Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson; and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, plus at least 30 lawmakers. The letter was released by Jonathan Saenz, president of the conservative group Texas Values, who said he emailed all of Texas' elected officials to invite them to add their names to the letter.
"As state elected officials, we strongly encourage the Boy Scouts of America to stick with their decades of support for family values and moral principles," the letter states. "Capitulating to the liberal social agenda not only undermines the very principles of scouting, but sets the stage for the erosion of an organization that has defined the American experience for generations of young men."
Last week, the Boy Scouts of America announced that it would consider lifting the ban on openly gay members and allowing local chapters to set their own policies. On Monday, the national executive board began meeting at a hotel in Irving. Board members are expected to rule on the policy on Wednesday. Texas Values is planning a "Save Our Scouts" rally outside of the meeting.
Although he has not signed on to the letter, Gov. Rick Perry said on Saturday that he supports maintaining the ban. "Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make scouting this very important and impactful organization," he told reporters after speaking to hundreds of Scouts at the Capitol. "To have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate."
Here's the full list of Republican officials who have signed on:
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples
Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patte