Washington -- President Barack Obama says the Boy Scouts of America should open its membership to gays and lesbians when its national executive board discusses the issue this week.
Obama praised the scouts as "a great institution" that promotes young people, giving them lifelong leadership training and opportunities. During a pre-Super Bowl interview on CBS, he said "no one should be barred from that."
The Boy Scouts announced last week it was considering replacing its longstanding ban on gays with a policy to let troop sponsors make their own decision on the issue.
The White House said last summer during the presidential campaign that Obama he opposed the Scouts' policy of excluding gays as members.
Gay rights activists praised last week's announcement, while some conservative church groups expressed alarm.