This week, former Camp Winton Program Director Alex Hayes and 22-year-old gay Eagle Scout Tim Griffin delivered more than 70,000 signatures to the Golden Empire Boy Scouts Council urging the council to reinstate Griffin and reject the Boy Scouts' policy banning gay scouts and leaders. Griffin was joined by former Camp Winton Program Director Alex Hayes and fellow camp employees who resigned after Griffin was allegedly fired for his sexual orientation.
After delivering the signatures, Griffin and Hayes met with Glen Goddard, Program Director for the Golden Empire Boy Scouts Council.
Hayes launched the Change.org petition after resigning in protest with nine other camp employees after Griffin, the longest serving employee at the camp, was removed.
“Regardless of what the council gives as reasoning for my removal, the overwhelming show of solidarity at today’s delivery tells quite a different story,” said Griffin. “I loved being part of the Boy Scouts, and I’m simply overwhelmed by the love and support the Scouting community has given me through this difficult time. I hope the council rejects this horrible policy soon, so no more Scouts or leaders have to go through what I did.”
Griffin and Hayes join the growing number of voices speaking out against the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies. Advocate Zach Wahls, who founded the group Scouts for Equality, applauded Griffin and Hayes. Wahls, who has his own Change.org petition calling on the Boy Scouts' board to vote to remove the ban, said:
“From Minnesota to Vermont, Rhode Island to California, local Boy Scout councils are standing up and rejecting the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory policy barring gay Scouts and leaders. Scouts for Equality is at the forefront of this effort, and we’ll continue working with brave Scouts and leaders like Tim and Alex, empowering local councils and charter organizations to speak for themselves and their members.”
Wahls and Griffin are only some of several Eagle Scouts who have spoken out against the ban. Many Eagle Scouts have returned their medals to the Boy Scouts of America in protest of its anti-gay policies.
Last week, President Obama joined the chorus criticizing the policy. A spokesperson for the President told the Washington Blade, "The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century. He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation." The President serves as Honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America.
GLAAD has been on the front lines of this issue, working since April with Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio mom who was ousted as her son's den leader because she is gay. You can read more about GLAAD's work with Jennifer at http://glaad.org/scouts