Obama urges Boy Scouts to end gay ban

President Barack Obama said in an interview Sunday that the Boy Scouts of America should end its controversial ban on gays and lesbians when its national executive board takes up the issue next week.

"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 told CBS News in a pre-Super Bowl interview.

"The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives," he said. "And I think nobody should be barred from that."

On January 28, the century-old youth group with 2.6 million boys in its membership ranks said it was rethinking its longstanding ban, and the group's national board of directors is expected to meet Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Unlike the Girl Scouts of the USA, a separate organization, the Boy Scouts maintained for years a ban on "open or avowed homosexuals" from participating either as members or adult leaders.

Its stance was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2000, but it has come under pressure in recent years to change tack in the face of growing public acceptance of homosexuality.

The CBS interview was broadcast ahead of the Super Bowl, the American football sporting extravaganza that transfixes the country each year.

Obama also told CBS that he hopes to generate more revenue for the US budget without raising taxes by closing tax loopholes.

"There is no doubt we need additional revenue coupled with smart spending reductions to bring down our deficits," Obama said.