The Connecticut Yankee Council of the Boy Scouts of America has announced that it will open Scouting to all youth and adults. This comes just days before 1,400 members of the Boy Scouts of America National Council will converge in Dallas to vote on a resolution critical to equality in Scouting. In a statement posted to the Council's website on May 17, Michael Abrahamson, the Council President, said:
Dear Connecticut Yankee Council Scouting family,
The Boy Scouts of America, Connecticut Yankee Council is committed to providing high quality programs that deliver leadership skills, citizenship training, character development and personal fitness to young people in 37 communities in southwestern Connecticut. We are committed to our mission, we respect other's viewpoints, and we are welcoming of others.
Scouting in the Connecticut Yankee Council is open to all youth and adults who subscribe to the values of the Scout Oath and Law regardless of their personal sexual orientation. All our Scouts and leaders must display the highest levels of good conduct and any sexual conduct within Scouting is unacceptable. Our charter partners retain the responsibility to select the best possible leadership for their units consistent with their moral values.
Our Scouts and leaders repeatedly pledge to respect all people and defend the rights of others. Prejudice, intolerance and unlawful discrimination of any form are unacceptable within our membership.
By remaining true to our values, and keeping our conviction of preparing young people for life, we strive to expand our capacity to serve more youth through high quality programs.
"The Connecticut Yankee Council has taken a courageous move in favor of equality for Scouts and adult leaders. By allowing any qualified youth and adult to participate, regardless of sexual orientation, the Council is demonstrating that fairness is more important than fear," said Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications for GLAAD. "We hope that the Boy Scouts of America will follow their lead and listen to a majority of Americans who believe Scouting should be open to all."
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.