A new petition campaign on Change.org with more than 2,000 signatures is urging the Boy Scouts' Kentucky-based Lincoln Heritage Council to reject the national organization's discriminatory ban on gay scouts and leaders, and to reinstate a local gay Boy Scouts leader. Former Assistant Scoutmaster Greg Bourke, who has raised two children involved in scouting with his partner of 30 years, started the petition after the Lincoln Heritage Council learned he is gay and removed him from of his role in the organization.
Greg's story is the latest in a series of news stories documenting gay scouts who are thrown out or parents who are told they are not able to participate in their children's lives because they are gay.
"The BSA desperately needs to focus on making a strong and safe organization for young people and to discontinue their relentless attacks on gay youth and children of gay parents," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.
In a statement about the campaign, Greg said, "For the past five years, I've dedicated my time and energy to the Boy Scouts of America and to my community -- and I've loved every minute of it. In return, the Boy Scouts of America has decided to fire me for being honest about who I am and for loving my partner of 30 years. I launched my petition with the hope of turning this hurtful situation into something positive… If enough of us speak out, I know the Lincoln Heritage Council will join the growing list of councils that have decided to reject the Boy Scouts' discriminatory policy."
Despite being dismissed from the Boy Scouts, Greg remains a leader in his daughter's Girl Scout troop. The Girl Scouts of the USA said in a 1991 policy letter that it respects “the values and beliefs of each of its members and does not intrude into personal matters. Therefore, there are no membership policies on sexual preference.”
Girl Scout leaders at Our Lady of Lourdes condemned Bourke’s ouster from the Boy Scouts. Co-leader Kim Haydon said in a July 23 email to Boy Scout officials that to “discount all that he has done for our youth only because he is gay is absurd. Shame on you and your small mindedness.”
Over 300,000 signatures were previously delivered to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) by former Eagle Scout Zach Wahls and Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell showing that the organization's discriminatory national policy on gay scouts and LGBT leaders hurts the countless Americans who are excluded, just because of who they are.
Sign Greg's petition now and tweet your support!
— GLAAD (@glaad) September 18, 2012