Undaunted by ridicule from the leader of his own party, an Indiana lawmaker is standing by his allegations that the Girl Scouts is a radical organization that promotes abortions and homosexuality.
The scouts and Planned Parenthood have dismissed Rep. Bob Morris' comments as absurd, as did Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma. But Morris, a Republican, told The Associated Press his critics need to do more research into the 100-year-old scouting organization.
"My family and I took a view and we're sticking by it," Morris said Tuesday, adding that his daughters were joining an alternative group for young girls run by conservative Christians. "My girls are no longer Girl Scouts. They're now going to join American Heritage Girls."
Morris' comments were the butt of jokes inside the House on Tuesday, with Bosma spending much of the day handing out Thin Mints to lawmakers. He joked that Morris' comments led him to buy hundreds of cases of the famous Girl Scout cookies.
"I purchased 278 cases of Girl Scout cookies in the last four hours," said a clearly sarcastic Bosma, who closed Tuesday's session by asking the former Girl Scouts in the chamber to stand up.
Morris' comments about the Girl Scouts came in a letter he sent to House Republicans on Saturday that said he had conducted some research on the Internet and discovered that the scouts are a "tactical arm" of Planned Parenthood.
The Girl Scouts flatly denied Morris' accusations, and Planned Parenthood of Indiana issued a separate statement calling Morris' charges "woefully inaccurate."
"On the national level, inflammatory and generally inaccurate claims about a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood have been promoted primarily by anti-choice lawmakers seeking to place pressure on organizations to disassociate or distance themselves from Planned Parenthood," Betty Cockrum, the chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, said in a statement.
Morris, in his letter to lawmakers, said some Christian conservatives who share his concerns have pulled their children out of Girl Scouts. He also pointed to a Colorado Girl Scout troop's acceptance of a transgender child last month as another reason to leave the group.
Tom LoBianco can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/tomlobianco