The Boy Scouts of America is reportedly considering ending its long-standing ban on openly gay scouts and scout leaders.
A policy change is being developed that would allow local chapters of the organization to decide for themselves whether or not to accept gays participate.
The Scouts have been under heavy fire in recent months after ousting Jennifer Tyrrell, an Ohio mom ousted as the den leader of her seven-year-old son’s troop because of her sexual orientation.
Tyrrell did not remain silent.
She began a petition on Change.org that has been signed by 280,000 people. Former Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, who became famous when his video in support of his two gay moms went viral on YouTube, delivered the petition at least week’s Boy Scouts’ National Annual Meeting in Kissimmee, Florida.
‘Last Wednesday I delivered 275,000 petition signatures — including the signatures of thousands of scouts and scout leaders — to the Boy Scouts of America because I love the organization and I refuse to stand by idly as it forfeits its cultural relevancy at the very moment this country needs it most,’ Wahls said. ‘In proposing to allow local charter organizations to decide whether or not they’ll include gay youth and leaders within their ranks, the Boy Scouts of America has taken an historic step forward, and I applaud their bravery in doing so.’
He added: ‘As both an Eagle Scout with a personal investment in the success of the Boy Scouts of America and as the son of a lesbian couple, it means a lot to see this change finally set in motion.’
Tyrrell said in a statement that while she was heartbroken after being kicked out of the Scouts, the blow has been softened by the widespread support she has received from parents and from the LGBT community including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) which invited Tyrrell to its high-profile awards ceremonies in Los Angeles in April and in San Francisco last Saturday (see video below).
‘I know if it was up to my community, I’d still be a Cub Scout Den Leader today,’ she said. ‘So this news is definitely a huge step in the right direction for the Boy Scouts of America.’