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Scout Council denounces anti-gay ban after 81% of members call for equality

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The Mt. Diablo Silverado Council of the Boy Scouts of America is urging the organization to adopt a non-discrimination policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation after 81% of its Scouts reported that they want LGBT individuals to be included in Scouting. The Council becomes the first in the nation to publicly urge the BSA to install a national non-discrimination policy.

Last year, the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council denied 18-year-old Ryan Andresen his Eagle award because he's gay. Nearly half a million people then signed a Change.org petition calling on the Council to reject the Boy Scouts' ban on gay members and award Ryan the rank he earned.  Following the outcry, the California-based council conducted a survey of its members and released the findings just last night.

"Scouts and Scouters should be judged by their conduct, their actions, and their character, consistent with the Scout Oath and Scout Law, not by stereotypes or group related prejudices," reads the survey summary in part. "We believe that the national board should adopt a standard policy, consistent with the Scout Oath, Scout Law, and he principles documented within this report, which ends the isolation and exclusion of LGBT individuals."

"The call for change is clear among the Boy Scouts' own membership, and it cannot continue to be ignored," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "Scouts, councils and even BSA board members are realizing that this ban is not only discriminatory, it's dangerous to gay youth and families. Excluding young people because of who they are isn't an American value, and it shouldn't be a scouting value either."

Last month, GLAAD traveled with Eric Andresen, father of Ryan Andresen, to the Boy Scouts of America’s national headquarters in Irving, Texas to deliver more than 1.4 million Change.org petition signatures calling on the organization to end its anti-gay policy and adopt a national non-discrimination policy.

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 341,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders.

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