Ousted lesbian den leader Jennifer Tyrrell showed up as Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Dallas, Texas, Wednesday (18 July) to deliver more than 300,000 petition signatures calling for an end to the organization’s anti-gay policy.
Her delivery comes a day after the BSA announced that after two years of consideration by an 11-person committee, the Scouts will continue to ban gay members.
‘This movement doesn’t stop because 11 anonymous men behind closed doors made a decision to keep discrimination in place,’ Tyrrell said. ‘This petition may have started out for me and my son, but it’s grown into something much bigger.’
She said the comments on the petition include the stories of literally thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts ‘who are hoping the Boy Scouts of America will take this moment and end this policy of discrimination against gay Americans.’
The BSA’s announcement came on the heels of another widely-publicized case: Kansas City-area Eagle Scout Eric Jones was fired this week from his job as a counselor at a scout camp after coming out to the camp director on Sunday (15 July).
‘The real people impacted by this ban are gay young adults who are forced to hide who they are as well as the children of gay parents who are denied an opportunity to participate their children’s lives,’ Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. ‘By standing behind this ban, the Boy Scouts of America are contributing to a climate that promotes the bullying of gay young people and putting parents in a place where they are forced to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are not welcomed in the organization. Discrimination is not a value that should be associated with scouting.’
Also Wednesday, Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout who became famous when his video in support of his two gay moms went viral on YouTube, began a petition on Change.org that urges the BSA of allow its board to vote on the anti-gay policy instead of leaving the decision up to an anonymous 11-member committee.
Wahls explains that days after he delivered nearly 300,000 petition signatures to the Boy Scouts’ annual convention, a resolution was introduced that could allow openly gay scouts and leaders for the first time in the history of the BSA.
‘But instead of allowing that resolution to be voted on by the executive board, the BSA instead decided to maintain their anti-gay ban without a vote. Because a secret committee said so,’ he explains in the petition.
Wahls adds: ‘What’s most disappointing is the secretive nature surrounding how this ‘decision’ was reached. The very first value of the Scout Law is that a Scout is trustworthy. There is absolutely nothing trustworthy about unelected and unnamed committee members who are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.’