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The Brief: Feb. 4, 2013

The renewed debate over gay membership in the the Boy Scouts of America has pitted Gov. Rick Perry squarely against President Obama.

Gov. Rick Perry at a State Board of Education meeting on Feb. 1, 2013.

The Big Conversation

The renewed debate over gay membership in the the Boy Scouts of America has pitted Gov. Rick Perry squarely against President Barack Obama.

Addressing the Texas Scouts' annual Report to State on Saturday, Perry urged the Boy Scouts of America to keep its policy refusing gay members and leaders, as The Associated Press reported. The Scouts, an Irving-based organization, announced last week that it would reconsider the ban at a meeting of its national board this week. 

"I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position, and neither do I," Perry said after his address in the Texas House chamber, adding, "To have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate."

In his 2008 book On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For, Perry, an Eagle Scout, argued that allowing openly gay leaders and members into the organization would "distract from the mission of Scouting: character building, not sex education."

Perry's comments on Saturday came a day before Obama told told CBS News that the ban should be dropped.

"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. 

Gay rights groups and critics of the Scouts' policy ridiculed Perry for his remarks.

"If we can have gays and lesbians in the armed services killing terrorists, then why can't we have them in Boy Scouts making campfires?" Democratic political consultant Jason Stanford told the San Antonio Express-News. "Do you really have to be straight to tie a proper bowline?"

According to the AP, Perry wouldn't say how a change in the Scouts' policy would affect his view of the organization.

Texas news from across the state and around the web

•    UT Regents to Study Relationship Policies (The Texas Tribune): "The University of Texas System Board of Regents will review policies regarding inappropriate relationships between students and employees at all 15 UT institutions, the system announced on Sunday."

•    'American Sniper' Author Shot to Death in Texas (The New York Times): "Since retiring from the Navy SEALs, Chris Kyle, whom the Pentagon has deemed as among America’s deadliest snipers, would occasionally take fellow veterans shooting as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars. … But the Texas authorities said Sunday that the troubled veteran turned on Mr. Kyle and a second man, Chad Littlefield, shooting and killing both before fleeing in a pickup truck."

•    Morton's Conviction Comes to Define Former Williamson County DA (The Texas Tribune): "Williamson County State District Judge Ken Anderson faces a rare court of inquiry, starting Monday, over his role in the wrongful murder conviction of Michael Morton. Some who have known Anderson for years say they cannot believe he could do the unethical things he's accused of doing."

•    As university community lobbies lawmakers, RGV delegation make plans to file med school bill (The Monitor): "Valley lawmakers are making plans to file legislation Monday authorizing the merger of University of Texas-Pan American and UT-Brownsville and the establishment of a medical school to be housed by the new institution."

•    It's now official: Mayor Castro is seeking a 3rd term (San Antonio Express-News): "Surrounded by family, half of the City Council and hundreds of supporters, Julián Castro officially announced his candidacy Saturday for a third term as mayor. 'For those of you who are wondering, I'm not going anywhere,' he said — a wink, of sorts, to speculation in the national media that his recent rise in national politics might prompt him to forgo the mayor's race for higher office. 'I love our city. I'm committed to making it a better place.'"

Quote of the Day: "In just three weeks, The New York Times has devoted a lead editorial to blasting me. Bill Maher has attacked me, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews. Morning Joe seems to devote their morning sections to attacking me. And I’ll tell you what, I view all of that as a sign that maybe we’re doing something right." — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz during an appearance on Glenn Beck's radio show on Friday


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