Anti-gay activists from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) presented less than 19,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) requesting that they keep its anti-gay membership policy. This is signifcantly less than the 1.8 million presented in a Change.org petition by Scouts for Equality (SFE). The BSA is currently holding their annual national meeting in Dallas, during which an internal vote shall decide if the organization will begin taking steps towards dropping their discriminatory ban.
These signature numbers are further evidence of widespread public support for inclusive Scouting. A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the Boy Scouts plan to begin admitting gay Scouts younger than 18, and 56 percent oppose its intention to continue banning gay adults from the organization.
In an accompanying letter the ADF wrote that in their opinion "the best course for BSA--both for the best interest of its members and the defense against legal challenges--is for BSA to maintain its long-standing values-based membership policy."
Upon delivering the 1.8 million signature petition requesting that the Boy Scouts move forward and finally allow openly gay membership, Mark Anthony Dingbaum, a senior campaign manager at Change.org stated, “More than 1 million people have joined Change.org campaigns urging the Boy Scouts of America to end their national anti-gay policy, and today, those signers are seeing their work and their support delivered right to the Boy Scouts of America, for one final push as the Boy Scout board determines the future of the organization. Jennifer Tyrrell, Will Oliver, Greg Bourke, and the Andresen family have proven that long-standing institutions of discrimination are no match for cutting-edge online tools and powerful storytelling."
GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay scouts and scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout Pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s orginal Change.org petition has attracted more than 343,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders. Tyrrell, together with GLAAD, has launched a new petition to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to completely lift its anti-gay ban on both youth members and adult employees and volunteers. To take action on this issue please visit www.glaad.org/denmother. For more on GLAAD's work on this campaign, including a timeline of key events, visit www.glaad.org/scouts