As support for gay mom and former Boy Scout troop leader Jennifer Tyrrell contines to pour in from across America, it's important to reflect on those who have been saying all along that moms like Jen should be allowed in the Boy Scouts. Including Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said in a 1994 debate:
“I believe that the Boy Scouts of America does a wonderful service for this country. I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Romney was a member of Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board at the time. Romney's belief that "all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts," echoes the opinion of over 146,000 People who have joined Jennifer's Change.org action calling on the Boy Scouts of America to end its long history of discrimination against LGBT people. Tyrrell was ousted as scout leader of her 7-year-old son’s Boy Scouts troop simply because she’s gay.
Celebrities including Josh Hutcherson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, as well as Glee stars Max Adler and Grant Gustin also showed support for Tyrrell and her family at the GLAAD Media Awards.
“The Boy Scouts are supposed to have a platform of tolerance, acceptance, and support -- values that drew my son Cruz to be a scout, and that drew me to want to be a den leader,” Tyrrell told the crowd at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday. “Yet by continuing to dismiss gay youth and gay leaders from their organization, the Boy Scouts of America is failing these values, harming families and communities by sending a message that all are not welcome.” Wednesday on CNN, Tyrell told Kyra Phillips that despite the Boy Scouts' attempt to justify its discrimination, her orientation was never an issue until the BSA made it one.
“The only ‘character development’ and ‘values-based leadership training’ the Boy Scouts have taught our young people in this case is that blatant discrimination is OK,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Tossing aside the hard work and leadership of a committed mom because of who she loves is not a ‘value’ that a majority of Americans want taught to their children.”
Among service organizations, the Boy Scouts are increasingly isolating themselves with their prohibition on gay youth and leaders. Organizations including the Girl Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as the 4H Club all welcome gay kids as well as adult leaders. After hearing Jennifer's story, the president of the James Beard Foundation announced that she would rescind her acceptance of the Boy Scouts’ Distinguished Citizen Award, noting the Scouts’ policy prohibiting gay people from service and leadership.
Let Jennifer be the last person who has to tell this story of being discriminated against by the Boy Scouts of America. Add your name in support of Jennifer and all LGBT people who should be able to participate in BSA.