More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
Read Ohio Boy Scout Mom Jennifer Tyrrell's Letter to Local Scout Council
Ohio River Valley Council
Boy Scouts of America
Attn: Paul Tucker, President
Dear Mr. Tucker:
I write today to urge the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to join the growing number of troops from all across the nation that have rejected the BSA’s ban on gay scouts and lesbian, and gay scout leaders.
After serving for nearly a year as den leader of my 7 year-old son Cruz’s Cub Scouts troop in Bridgeport, Ohio, in April of this year I was forced to abandon my duties, my position and – most devastatingly – my scouts, simply because I’m gay.
Cruz said to me just a few days ago that he wants to join scouts again. He really enjoyed building cars for the Pinewood Derby and learning new things with his friends. He also said that he doesn’t want to join if I’m not allowed to be there, because - although he is young – Cruz knows that it’s wrong to discriminate against people because they are different.
Among the troops that accept leaders and scouts who happen to be gay:
The Baden-Powell Council
The Boys Scouts Boston Minuteman Council
Connecticut Yankee Council
New Haven, CT
Connecticut Rivers Council
Green Mountain Council
The Northern Star Council
Minnesota and Wisconsin
Santa Clara County Council
San Jose, CA
Seneca Waterways Council
New York, NY
Cub Scout Pack 30
Cub Scout Pack 24
(See a map of all the BSA Councils that welcome all scouts and families here)
Although the press has profiled these troops, the BSA has not taken any disciplinary action or spoken out against them.
Over 330,000 people have joined me in calling for an end to the ban on gay scouts by signing an online petition. One of them was one of your own Board of Directors, who resigned from that body in a stand against the BSA’s “wholly discriminatory” policies.
I have appeared on national news outlets like CNN, The New York Times and MSNBC to talk about how important scouting is and how disappointed Cruz and all of my scouting parents are that I can no longer participate.
My story prompted members of the BSA National Board of Directors, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young Chairman James Turley, to express their opposition to the ban, as well as their resolve to see it overturned. Even President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney have spoken out against the BSA’s long history of discrimination, both saying they disagree with the ban.
Change is happening. More and more troops are allowing every committed scout or leader for who they are despite the national ban.
Today, I call on the Ohio River Valley Council to join those troops by permitting me to apply to be Cruz’s den leader of Pack 109 or to meet with my son and I in-person.
It’s not a matter of if this policy will come to an end; it’s a matter of when. The Ohio River Valley Council should follow the Scout Law -- which challenges every scout to be courteous, kind and brave – and which have made the Boy Scouts such an important organization in our culture today.
Pack 109, Ohio River Valley Council
Boy Scouts of America