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.
Unprecedented Pressure on Boy Scouts to Lift Gay Ban Continues Growing; Jennifer Tyrrell, Eagle Scout Ryan speak out as Massachusetts pack denounces policy
News is breaking that a Beverly Massachusetts Cub Scout pack has publicly rejected the Boy Scouts of America policy that bans gay scouts and scout leaders.
“We have been and will always be open and affirming, and will never turn our backs on a child or adult that seeks to embrace the core values found at the heart of Scouting,” Pack 4 Cubmaster Tony Gangi said. The pack’s committee, which has 11 members, voted unanimously to reject the policy last month. This week, the committee issued its own “statement of inclusion,” saying the benefits of Scouting “should be available to all children and their families, regardless of their sexual orientation.”
Today, Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was kicked out of her son's Boy Scout troop for being gay in April of this year, called on Americans to support those Boy Scout troops who have stated that they welcome all Scouts and families, despite the discriminatory stance of the Boy Scouts of America.
Tyrrell sent a letter to her local council asking her local leaders to join those around the country who have stood up against discrimination. You can read her letter here.
See Scouts for Equality's full map of all the BSA Councils that have rejected the BSA's discriminatory ban here. Many other packs have taken steps to reject this policy, and to accept and welcome all families.
Ryan Andresen, who was rejected by the Boy Scouts of America for his Eagle Scout Rank despite having met all of the qualifications, spoke today with Ellen DeGeneres about the discrimination he is facing.
More than 350,000 people have signed a change.org petition started by Ryan's mom to allow her son to achieve the rank he worked so hard for. Those signatures join the more than 330,000 asking the BSA to reinstate Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was kicked out as den leader of her son's scout troop because she is gay.
Tyrrell is speaking out in support of Ryan, saying “What happened to Ryan and to me, as well as so many other Americans that we’ve read about over the past few months, has to end.”
Joining her in supporting Ryan is 7 year-old Cub Scout Miles from California, who sent a handwritten letter to the Boy Scouts that reads: "I am a Cub Scout in Pack 108. I'm sad you are not letting gay people in your community. My mom and dad are sad too, but they are letting me be a Cub Scout anyway. We hope someday you'll change your mind."
(images via San Fransisco Chronicle)
Miles and Jen have the backing of leaders from corporate America as well. Eagle Scout and LGBT Advocate Zach Wahls recently called for Intel, which also gave to the BSA in 2010, to cease its donations, prompting the company to clarify that it has updated its donation policy to only fund organizations that vow not to discriminate based on sexual orientation, which would exclude the BSA. In 2010, Intel reportedly gave the Boy Scouts more than $700,000.
More and more Americans are calling on the Boy Scouts of America to join other national organizations like the Girl Scouts of the USA, 4-H Club, Adventure Scouts USA and Boys & Girls Club and end its discrimination against gay people.
You can read more about GLAAD's work around this issue with Jennifer, Zach, and others at http://glaad.org/scouts