The New York Boy Scouts have hired an openly gay Eagle Scout in direct defiance of the scouts’ anti-gay national policies.
On his 18th birthday, in August 2014, Eagle Scout Pascal Tessier wrote an open letter to the Boy Scouts of America to say goodbye to the organization – because its national policies allow gay scouts but ban gay leaders.
Now the Greater New York Councils chapter of the Boy Scouts, defying the national anti-gay policies, accepted the teen’s application and appointed him as a camp leader.
‘We’ve had, for a very, very long time, an anti-discrimination policy,’ board member Richard G. Mason told the New York Times.
‘He’s highly qualified. We said yes to him irrespective of his sexual orientation.’
Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, told the Washington Post: ‘I’m sure it won’t be a surprise to know he’s excited that he got the job.
‘The lion’s share of the credit here goes to the New York council for stepping up to the plate. There are a lot of chapters that say they don’t discriminate, but they just talk the talk.
‘The Boy Scouts in New York walk the walk.’
Appointing Tessier as a camp leader symbolizes a split between the New York Council and scouting’s national headquarters in Texas; it could also lead to a lawsuit.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America said they did not ‘proactively enquire’ about leaders’ sexual orientation – so gay adults could, in theory, take part as long as they keep their sexuality secret.
In regard to Tessier, the Scouts’ national communications director, Deron Smith, said the organization’s policies had not changed.
He said: ‘While we were only recently made aware of this issue, we are looking into the matter.’