GLAAD was on the ground in San Francisco with Scouts for Equality (SFE) at a City Hall rally to urge the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to vote in favor of dropping the BSA's ban on gay youth and adopt a national non-discrimination policy to allow gay scouts and scout leaders. Scouts for Equality organized rallies in over 30 cities for supporters to urge their local BSA councils to support an end to the ban on gay youth.
The rally, sponsored by Scott Wiener (San Francisco Board of Supervisors for District 8), included current Boy Scouts as well as speeches by GLAAD's National Spokesperson Wilson Cruz, Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls, California state Senator Mark Leno, Eric Andresen who is the father of a gay Scout denied his Eagle award.
GLAAD's Wilson Cruz (photos courtesy of GLAAD)
GLAAD's Wilson Cruz
Senator Mark Leno
These are the first in a series of events and actions that SFE, together with GLAAD and others, have organized in the next few weeks to help bring public attention and support towards ending discrimination in the BSA.
The BSA will soon vote on whether or not the organization should accept gay youth; the organization would continue its discriminatory policy against adult members, however.
“With less than two weeks until the vote, today’s ‘Council Day of Action’ is about our members urging local councils to support this historic resolution,” said Wahls. “Yesterday’s Washington Post/ABC News poll found that there is overwhelming support for this resolution – 63 percent of America is calling for this change and it is our hope that councils across America will listen.”
The campaign for including all Scouts has gathered 1.8 million signatures through Change.org petitions since July 2012. Since then, the BSA has lost many supporters, both donors and local support, over its anti-gay policy. The 11,000 members of SFE have organized rallies, meetings with councils and community gatherings to take place in the next few weeks before the internal vote.
“Scouts for Equality will continue its efforts until discrimination is no longer a word associated with the BSA,” said Wahls. “Today across the country our members are united by one common goal – to make the BSA organization the strongest it can be.”
More information on these and upcoming events can be found at: www.scoutsforequality.com/events.
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 and Scouts for Equality, 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.