More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
California Mom Speaks Out After Boy Scouts of America Bully Her Son
California mom Karen Andresen issued a statement today after Deron Smith, the national spokesperson for the Boy Scouts of America, shared the alleged reasons why the BSA rejected her son Ryan, who has served as a scout for more than 12 years.
The Scouts' national spokesman, Deron Smith, wrongfully stated late Thursday to Yahoo! News that Ryan disagreed with the BSA's religious principles and cited that as a reason for denying him the rank of Eagle Scout.
Ryan’s mother Karen today corrected these inaccuracies, saying:
"The Boy Scouts of America's statement that Ryan does not agree to Scouting's principle of "Duty to God" is inaccurate. Ryan has never said that he does not believe in a higher power, and the only reason he's being denied the rank of Eagle is because the Boy Scouts of America has a problem with Ryan being gay.”
You can join GLAAD and more than 150,000 Americans who are calling on the Boy Scouts of America to reverse their decision to deny Ryan the rank of Eagle Scout by signing Karen's Change.org petition.
GLAAD also spoke out against the misinformation that the BSA is spreading Ryan. GLAAD President Herndon Graddick:
“The BSA is further tarnishing its organization and continuing to hurt American youth by sharing blatant misinformation about a teen they had already rejected. We commend Ryan for standing up against bullying and for his dedication to scouting. The BSA needs to end this hurtful discrimination and put the focus back on its scouts.”
GLAAD began calling for the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders 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.
Jennifer also spoke out about Ryan’s award. “The BSA is bullying Ryan after he completed every task necessary to achieve this rank. It is an outrage that the BSA maintains their discriminatory stance at the expense of any and all deserving scouts,” she said.
Ryan, who endured bullying as a teen from fellow Scouts in his troop, recently came out in a letter he sent to members of Troop 212. In the letter, a response to a bullying incident faced by another student in the troop, Ryan talked about the effects that bullying had on him, including depression and self-harm.
Scores of Boy Scout troops and scouting families around the country have urged the organization to change its policies, and a new organization, Scouts For Equality, was founded by Eagle Scout Zach Wahls to mobilize current and former Scouts calling for an end to the ban on gay scouts and leaders.
Business leaders like James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young, and Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T -- both members of the Boy Scouts of America’s Board of Directors -- have called for an end to the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies. Earlier this month, Intel announced that it would no longer be funding the national BSA organization while the ban is in place.
Last month, President Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, publicly opposed the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also stated his support for gay Americans participating in the Boy Scouts.
This month the United States Supreme Court will issue decisions on two cases critical to marriage equality. GLAAD is working with media outlets and couples around the country to push for marriage. Follow GLAAD for up to date news about the Supreme Court's decision at www.glaad.org/marriage