As Boy Scouts of America officials state today that they plan to uphold the discriminatory ban on gay scouts and gay scout leaders, many Americans including current scouts are continuing to take action.
Americans like Eric Jones, whom the New York Daily News profiled. Eric was an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America for nearly 10 years, but lost his job as a BSA camp counselor Sunday after he came out as gay to his camp director.
"I'd been working on coming out," Jones told the Daily News. "I thought it was time to have my life of scouting and my other life come together. He said I was deserving to be there, but he had to follow the policy of BSA," Jones said. Eric also spoke with director Ryan James Yezak and will be featured in a upcoming documentary, "Second Class Citizens."
"With organizations including the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Boys & Girls Club and the U.S. military allowing gay Americans to participate, the Boy Scouts of America need to find a way to treat all children and their parents fairly," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "Until this ban is lifted, the Scouts are putting parents in a situation where they have to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are being turned away simply because of who they are. It's unfair policies like this that contribute to a climate of bullying in our schools and communities. Since when is that a value worth teaching young adults?"
News is also breaking today that Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T and an executive board member with the Boy Scouts, supports an end to the ban. According to the Dallas Voice, “Stephenson’s spokesman, Marty Richter told Dallas Voice he’s committed to changing the policy... Richter said he believes Turley will lead the effort to make the Boy Scouts inclusive with Stephenson’s full support.”
Another Boy Scout board member, Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO James Turley, last month stated his opposition to the organization’s ban on gay scouts and leaders. Following the launch of a Change.org petition started by Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, Turley announced on June 13 that he intends to “work from within the Boy Scouts of America Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress” on ending the ban on gay scouts and gay scout leaders.
Tomorrow Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted as her son's scout leader in April 2012 because she is gay, will present over 300,000 signatures at the BSA headquarters in Dallas, Texas. The signatures, as well as comments from a Change.org petition she started, call for her to be reinstated. Jennifer hopes Boy Scout leaders will meet with her for the first time and accept the signatures as well as consider reinstating her as den leader so her son can resume scouting. Jennifer's previous attempts to meet with BSA have been rejected. As a result, Zach Wahls -- a prominent Eagle Scout, advocate for the LGBT community, and leader of “Scouts for Equality” -- delivered 275,000 of the petitions on behalf of Jennifer to the BSA at an Orlando conference on May 30.
Tyrrell’s campaign has earned the support of numerous celebrities as well, including Julianne Moore, Benicio Del Toro, Josh Hutcherson, Ricky Martin and others, and Tyrrell has been featured at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles and San Francisco for her work to end the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. She most recently marched in the 43rd Annual LGBT Pride Parade in NYC with GLAAD as well as actor and former scout leader George Takei.
“All I’m asking for is the opportunity to meet with a Boy Scouts official and resume my post as den leader of my son’s Cub Scout Pack -- a post that was taken from me as a result of a discriminatory policy that’s unpopular with Boy Scouts and leaders across the country,” said Tyrrell. “I hope they’ll listen to my story and the stories of hundreds of thousands who have signed my Change.org petitions.”