CNBC exclusively broke the news tonight that James Turley, the Global Chairman & CEO of Ernst & Young who is also a Board member of the Boy Scouts of America, issued a statement in which he disagrees with the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders and supports a proposed resolution to end the ban:
“Ernst & Young is proud to have such a strong record in LGBT inclusiveness. As CEO, I know that having an inclusive culture produces the best results, is the right thing for our people and makes us a better organization. My experience has led me to believe that an inclusive environment is important throughout our society and I am proud to be a leader on this issue. I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning and service, however the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse. As I have done in leading Ernst & Young to being a most inclusive organization, I intend to continue to work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress.”
Ernst & Young’s statement to CNBC followed a Change.org petition launched by Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell which called on the CEOs of AT&T and Ernst & Young to stand with her and speak out against the BSA’s ban. Jennifer wrote: “Both AT&T and Ernst & Young have 100% rankings on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, and both companies have been honored as a top place to work for LGBT employees. In addition, both AT&T and Ernst & Young have active LGBT employee groups.”
Last week after more than 293,000 Americans signed Jen's initial Change.org petition and LGBT advocate Zach Wahls delivered the petition to the BSA National Annual Meeting, Boy Scout officials announced that a new proposal was under review to end the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders as early as 2013.
Tyrrell has updated her Change.org petition to continue to call for action from AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson. “Corporate leaders have now joined hundreds of thousands of Americans, celebrities, as well as current and former Boy Scouts in standing up against discrimination. I hope that Mr. Stephenson hears our call for equality and chooses to stand with us.”
Ernst & Young has been a leader in LGBT inclusion in the workplace. The company has consistently received a 100% rating in the HRC Corporate Equality Index, the No. 1 ranking on the 2009 DiversityInc's Top 10 Companies for LGBT, and was recognized by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates as a 2010 award finalist for Significant Achievement. This year UK-based LGBT organization Stonewall named Ernst & Young as the country’s most ‘gay-friendly’ employer.
Celebrities including Julianne Moore, Dianna Agron, Josh Hutcherson, Ricky Martin, Max Adler and Grant Gustin (Glee), Tamra Barney, Chaz Bono, Tabatha Coffey, Trevor Donovan, Fran Drescher, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Perez Hilton, LZ Granderson, Lisa Lampanelli, Joshua Jackson, Jane Leeves, Sean Maher, Kelly Osbourne, Kyle Richards, Darryl Stephens, Kim Wayans, Rita Wilson, and Lisa VanderPump have tweeted or showed support for Jennifer at the GLAAD Media Awards. Find additional names here.
After being told on April 12, 2012 that she could no longer serve as her son's scout leader, Jennifer has inspired national support for the BSA to end the ban. David J. Sims resigned as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio River Valley Council of BSA following the decision, saying that it went against his "fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human beings and is, in my opinion, wholly discriminatory." California lawmakers this month voted on a measure pushing the BSA to adopt more LGBT-friendly policies, The L.A. Times reported. The president of the James Beard Foundation announced that she would rescind her acceptance of the Boy Scouts' Distinguished Citizen Award, noting the Scouts' policy prohibiting gay people from service and leadership.
Among those opposed to the ban on LGBT scouts is Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said in a 1994 video: "I believe that the Boy Scouts of America does a wonderful service for this country. I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation."
Organizations including the Girl Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the America, as well as the 4H Club already welcome gay youth as well as adult leaders.