Jennifer Tyrrell, together with GLAAD and Scouts For Equality, is launching 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. Jennifer, of Bridgeport, Ohio, was told in April 2012 that she would no longer be able to serve as a den leader of her son's Cub Scout pack because she is gay. Jennifer served as a den mother for nearly a year after registering her son for the Boy Scouts.
"No parent should ever have to look their children in the eyes and tell them their family isn't good enough. But the Boy Scouts' current proposal forces gay parents and adult leaders to do just that."
The Boy Scouts announced on Friday that the organization is considering allowing youth members who identify as gay to join the Scouts and would officially vote on the issue at the end of May. The Boy Scouts has not announced any plans to include adult gay members. If the resolution passes, it will allow gay youth to join in Scouting only until they reach the age of 18, at which point they will be asked to leave the organization.
More than 120 groups and individuals who are experts in the fields of sexual abuse prevention, psychology, psychiatry, education coaching, and faith outreach have signed an open letter, debunking the myths and stereotypes that opponents of LGBT participation have been basing their arguments upon.
“Lesbian and gay parents have proven themselves time and time again to be dedicated, caring, and trustworthy Scout leaders and volunteers, as evidenced by Jennifer and many others who have served in welcoming local Scout groups,” said Dana Rudolph, an LGBT advocate and editor of popular gay parenting blog Mombian. “It is shameful that the Boy Scouts have chosen to stigmatize Jennifer's son by not letting his parents participate in the same way as those of his peers.”
The Boy Scouts themselves have affirmed that, based on their own independent research, "Most of the research on the effect on children of associating with self-identified homosexual adults has been done about homosexual parents. The clear conclusion from this research is that there appear to be no effects on children's adjustment, mental health or sexual orientation."
The BSA has a long history of anti-gay discrimination. In 2004 the BSA adopted a new Youth Leadership policy which stated that "Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed," and "in the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position." Just last year the BSA removed an out lesbian from her volunteer post with a local Potomac Falls, Virginia chapter because of her sexual orientation.
"Scouting shouldn't come with an expiration date," said GLAAD's Rich Ferraro. "If enacted, this resolution would not only force out gay Scouts once they turn 18, it would also continue discriminating against gay adults and parents, who simply want to take part in their children's lives. If the Boy Scouts are going to move toward inclusion, they shouldn't take half a step forward – they should follow the lead of other national youth organizations and adopt a fully inclusive policy that leaves no child or parent behind."
Jennifer asks you to take action: "Please join me and my family in urging the Boy Scouts to consider the Los Angeles Area Council's resolution this May, and vote to end discrimination in Scouting once and for all."
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 Change.org petition has attracted more than 330,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
More than 1 million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition. Since that day, advocacy efforts and successful petition campaigns have recruited two Boy Scout board members -- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley -- to denounce the national anti-gay policy. GLAAD, together with Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls, have also used Change.org petitions to pressure corporate donors such as Intel and UPS to pull funding until the Boy Scouts end their policy banning gay youth and parents. Last fall, a Bay Area mother named Karen Andresen petitioned her local Boy Scout council to honor her son Ryan with an Eagle Award that was denied to him when the Scout came out as gay. An official Eagle Board Board of Review unanimously approved Ryan's application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.