Eagle Scout Zach Wahls and Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell responded today after Boy Scouts of America officials told the Associated Press that a secret committee had decided it will continue to maintain the ban on gay scouts and gay scout leaders.
The decision stands in opposition to over 300,000 Americans who have signed a Change.org petition calling for the BSA to lift the ban once and for all, as well as the support of some BSA National Executive Board members. In June, Global Chairman & CEO of Ernst & Young and BSA Board member James Turley vowed to “work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress” in an effort to end the ban.
In an interview with the Dallas Voice, CEO of AT&T and BSA Executive Board member Randall Stephenson also expressed his support for making the Scouts fully inclusive.
“This announcement is old news. We've heard this line before, and I'm sure they'll keep saying this until the day they decide to change the policy. This announcement, moreover this ‘process,’ is just a distraction. We know where this is headed,” said Wahls, who recently launched Scouts for Equality to overturn the ban. “Above all, what is most disappointing about today's announcement is the secretive nature surrounding how this conclusion was reached. The very first value of the Scout Law is that a Scout is trustworthy. There is absolutely nothing trustworthy about unelected and unnamed committee members who are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.”
“A secret committee of 11 people can't ignore the hundreds of thousands of people around the country -- including thousands of Eagle Scouts, scout families, and former scouts -- that want the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders removed.” said Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, whose Change.org petition calling on the Scouts to end its discrimination has garnered over 300,000 signatures. “This campaign doesn't stop, and we will continue to show the Boy Scouts that discrimination and intolerance have no place in scouting. On Wednesday, I look forward to sharing with the BSA thousands of comments from families like mine that say the time is now to end this anti-gay policy."
The Boy Scouts of America have refused to release the names of the committee members or a report apparently prepared by the committee, which according to the Associated Press, convened in 2010.
Tyrrell 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.
Watch Jennifer speak alongside her family and local scouts at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards below.