A dad from Kentucky has launched a new Change.org petition calling on United Way to denounce the Boy Scouts' ban on gay scouts and leaders. Greg Bourke, who has two kids with his partner of over 30 years, was ousted as leader of his son's Boy Scouts pack in 2012 because he's gay. Just days ago, Greg joined GLAAD, gay scouts and leaders, and equality advocates to deliver more than 1.4 million signatures to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) headquarters in Irving, Texas, calling for an end to the BSA's anti-gay policy.
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. That's an incredibly dangerous message to send to young people in our community, so I'm asking United Way, which is a major donor to the Boy Scouts, to denounce this hurtful anti-gay policy.
Local United Way affiliates are among the largest contributors to the Boy Scouts. Although United Way Worldwide says that it "embraces inclusiveness, diversity, and equal opportunity as part of [its] core values, Code of Ethics, and human resource policies," the leadership organization for the almost 1,800 member United Ways in 40 countries around the globe, also notes that it "does not dictate policy or funding decisions to its member organizations, except to the extent that funding decisions must be consistent with applicable law. As such, the responses to the 2000 Supreme Court’s ruling on the Boy Scouts by these volunteer-driven local United Way organizations have been and will continue to be decided community by community, with each United Way community assessing its own needs and setting its own funding priorities."
Several United Way chapters have already ceased funding of the Boy Scouts because of the disciminatory policy. In October 2012, Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell -- who was ousted as leader of her son's Cub Scout pack because she's gay -- called on her local United Way chapter to cease its funding of the Boy Scouts until the ban is ended.
Last week, the Boy Scouts announced that it would delay a vote to end the ban.
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 330,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts' ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
More than 1.4 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 Intel and UPS to pull funding until the Boy Scouts end their policy banning gay youth and parents. Last fall, 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 Board of Review unanimously approved Ryan's application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.
Gay Scouts and Leaders Deliver 1.4 Million Signatures to Boy Scout of America, February 4, 2013