Today, GLAAD responded to the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) proposal to maintain its ban on gay and lesbian parents and adults.
"Yet again, the Boy Scouts of America has failed its members, corporate sponsors, donors and the millions of Americans who agree that the time to end discrimination throughout Scouting is now," said Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at GLAAD. "By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organization back to relevancy. We're living in a culture where, until every young person's family is treated equally and able to contribute, the Boy Scouts will continue to see a decline in both membership and donations."
Today, the BSA released proposed language for a revised Membership Standards Resolution, which, if approved, would open Scouting to openly gay youth but would maintain the organization's ban on participation by gay and lesbian mothers, fathers and adutls. A body of 1,400 members will vote on whether or not to adopt the policy next month. The Resolution reads in part:
WHEREAS, the Boy Scouts of America will maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America, and
Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.
"One year after sending a letter ousting me as my son's leader, the Boy Scouts are once again forcing me to look my children in the eyes and tell them that they still think our family isn't good enough," said Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted as leader of her son's Cub Scouts pack in April 2012 because she's gay. "My heart goes out to the young adults in Scouting who would be able to continue as scouts if this is passed, but then be thrown out when they have a family of their own, and want to become leaders."
"I can't even begin to explain how much it hurt when I read the proposed resolution and realized that the Boy Scouts were still telling me and my family that we're not welcome," said gay dad and former Scoutmaster Greg Bourke, who delivered 64,000 Change.org petition signatures to United Way on Wednesday, urging the major BSA donor to denounce the anti-gay policy. "After dedicating more than five years to my son's Boy Scout troop and earning the love and respect of my community, how can the Boy Scouts honestly say that I'm not even worthy to volunteer my time to them?"
"Had this proposed policy been enacted just a few months ago, my son Ryan would've received his Eagle award. But now that he's 18, under this proposed policy, he would once again be rejected by the Boy Scouts," said Eric Andresen, whose son Ryan was denied his Eagle award because he's gay. "It's a small step in the right direction, but it still sends a dangerous message to young people and excludes talented leaders like Jen Tyrrell and Greg Bourke."
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 Change.org petition has attracted more than 330,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
More than 1 million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition. Since that day, advocacy efforts and successful petition campaigns have recruited two Boy Scout board members -- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley -- to denounce the national anti-gay policy. GLAAD, together with Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls, have also used Change.org petitions to pressure corporate donors such as Intel and UPS to pull funding until the Boy Scouts end their policy banning gay youth and parents. Last fall, a Bay Area mother named Karen Andresen petitioned her local Boy Scout council to honor her son Ryan with an Eagle Award that was denied to him when the Scout came out as gay. An official Eagle Board Board of Review unanimously approved Ryan's application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.