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Ernst & Young's Jim Turley explains opposition to Boy Scouts' gay ban

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In a statement released by Bloomberg Businessweek Jim Turley, Chairman and C.E.O. of Ernst & Young, further discussed his opposition to the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) current anti-gay policies, and his support for passing the proposed inclusive resolution at the end of May. Jim Turley stands with other influential political and business leaders including President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Mitt Romney, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Steven Speilberg, and Randall Stevenson in their support for inclusive Scouting.

Within his statement, Turley discusses the organization's current anti-gay policy: "It’s not in keeping with the thinking of the majority of Americans. And I don’t think it will lead the Scouts to be as robust and successful for the youth of the country as it can be."

Alluding to the continued exclusion of gay adults within the Scouts, Turley said that "I wish we’d gone further this time. I hoped it would have been more. But this is a substantial and significant change. There will be another vote in late May, and I’m hopeful and optimistic that some change will take place. I do not think that this should or will be the end of the debate."

Turley first spoke out about the issue when after hearing the story of Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio, who was forced to leave her 7-year-old son's Cub Scout Pack because she is gay. Following that incident, in July 2012, he said "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.”

Today he states "I was reluctant to personally speak out. I’m not a spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America. You don’t want to do things that will rip at the functioning of the board. That changed when the Scouts dismissed a den mother in Ohio last year because she was lesbian. There was a lot of controversy—and rightly so, in my opinion."

Turley, who's company Ernst & Young has a perfect 100 point score with the Human Rights Campaign, admits that the Scouts can be slow to change owing to their grassroots and decentralized style of organization. "The difference is that, as a leader, you can say who we are, this is who we’re going to be, and let’s move forward. When we decided to offer domestic partner benefits to LGBT employees, I didn’t have to ask for a vote. The reality is that most of our partners were middle-aged white guys, and it probably wouldn’t have passed," he said.

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 original 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.

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