Kentucky father Greg Bourke, who was forced out of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for being gay, will deliver more than 64,000 Change.org petition signatures to the United Way tomorrow, urging the organization to reconsider its financial support of the Scouts.
Having been involved with different Scouting groups for over the past 12 years, Bourke has spent the last five working with the BSA, where he served as leader of his son's Boy Scouts troop. Both of his children are involved in the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts organizations. Despite having "been fully trained by both the Girl Scouts of America and the Boy Scouts of America, passed numerous background checks, and [having] been what many consider a model Scout leader," in August of 2012 he was asked to resign his position in the organization. Support for his inclusion has been overwhelming, Greg says.
"Despite the protest of my troop, my church, and my community, the Boy Scouts' message was clear: gay youth and parents are inferior, and not welcome," he states on the petitions' Change.org page.
Bourke created the campaign through Change.org in the hopes of highlighting the massive public support that he, and others in his position, have received. Since having to leave the organization last August, he has been working to either change the Boy Scouts' policies or alternatively to bring this issue to the attention of the organization's donors with the hope that they will reconsider or delay their funding to the organization.
Local United Ways are sponsors of almost 300 different Boy Scout troops nationwide, according to a news release from Change.org. They will be holding their annual Staff Leaders Conference from Wednesday to Friday in Downtown Indianapolis. Bourke hopes to deliver the petition to the Convention Center Plaza (50 S. Capital Ave.) at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Several local United Way chapters have already begun witholding their funding of Boy Scouts troops over their discriminatory policies.
On February 4th, working with GLAAD, Bourke, along with ousted Boy Scout mom Jennifer Tyrrell and gay Eagle Scout Will Oliver, delivered 1.4 million signatures in support of lifing the discriminatory policies to the BSA.
"Millions have been moved to speak out in favor of ending the anti-gay ban from across religions, race, and political backgrounds including current scouts and corporate sponsors," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "While an end to the ban will strengthen scouting and stop the harm it caused to so many young gay people, the campaign for change will continue until the national policy is one where every young gay person is allowed to participate."
The Boy Scouts of America will be holding a vote in late May to determine whether or not the organization will allow gay members to join, or in Bourke's case re-join, the organization.