Today, GLAAD was on the ground in Seattle with LGBT youth and adults, allies, and local advocates as they delivered more than 125,000 petition signatures to online retail giant Amazon at the company's headquarters in Seattle.
17-year-old Pascal Tessier, one the first openly gay Eagle Scouts, started the petition with Scouts for Equality in support of ousted gay Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath. He is asking Amazon to suspend its financial support of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) until the organization lifts its ban on LGBT adults in leadership positions.
Despite its clear policy to "not engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age," the AmazonSmile program includes the BSA on its list of charities to which shoppers can donate. While the BSA lifted its ban on gay and bisexual youth in May 2013, policies remain in place to exclude LGBT parents and adults from participating.
Pascal, Geoff, and Pascal's mom Tracie Felker, were among those who spoke to the press earlier today as they prepared to hand off their many boxes to representatives of Amazon.
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 350,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders.
More than 2 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 the Intel Foundation and the UPS Foundation to pull funding until the Boy Scouts ends its policy banning gay youth and parents. In 2012, 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 of Review unanimously approved Ryan's application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.
To see more photos from today, check out flickr.com/photos/glaad.
For a full timeline of events, please visit http://glaad.org/timeline.