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.
VIDEO: Carly Rae Jepsen, Bill Gates Speak Out Against Boy Scouts Anti-Gay Ban
Recording artist Carly Rae Jepsen, who withdrew as headliner of the 2013 National Scout Jamboree following a campaign launched by GLAAD and Eagle Scout Derek Nance, this Thursday spoke with MTV News about her decision to drop out of the concert. The Change.org petition urging the "Call Me Maybe" star to denounce the Boy Scouts' ban on gay scouts and scout leaders amassed over 70,000 signatures.
"I mean, it was sort of one of those things that I kind of have my opinions about, and everyone's entitled to their own, but it wasn't necessarily something that I felt comfortable backing once I learned more about it. And that being said here's hoping they make the right decision and I'm praying that moves like this will help," Jepsen said. Watch the video below.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates also called for the BSA to end its ban on gay scouts and scout leaders this Thursday. During an interview Gates was asked about what he learned from scouting and then asked "Should the Boy Scouts of America rescind its ban on gay members and leaders?" He answered with a resounding, "Absolutely." When pressed for his reasons, Gates responded, "Because it's 2013." as the crowd laughed and clapped. Check out the video below.
Jepsen and Train were both announced as performers at the Boy Scouts of America's 2013 National Scout Jamboree earlier this month as the respective opening and closing show headliners. Both artists have also shown support for the LGBT community in the past, making their agreement to play a show for this anti-LGBT organization a surprise. Hours after GLAAD joined Derek Nance's Change.org petition Train issued a statement saying they would perform at the show only if the BSA end their gay ban. Jepsen followed with the announcement that she was dropping out of the performance altogether and noted that she "will continue to support the LGBT community on a global level."
On March 4, as part of GLAAD's campaign for the BSA to adopt a national non-discrimination policy, GLAAD and Eagle Scout Will Oliver delivered over 120,000 Change.org petition signatures to National Geographic Channel headquarters, calling on the network to add a disclaimer to its new series, Are You Tougher than a Boy Scout, denouncing the Boy Scouts' ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. The new series, produced in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, debuted later that night.
Following the petition delivery, GLAAD met with National Geographic Channel representatives, who agreed to publish a blog post by Eagle Scout Will Oliver, which spoke about the harms of the Scouts' discriminatory 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 342,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
GLAAD and Scouts for Equality have also called attention to other Americans who are continuing to be harmed by the anti-gay policy, including 18 year-old gay Scout Ryan Andresen, who was denied his Eagle award in October 2012 because he’s gay. Ryan’s mom later launched a Change.org petition calling on the BSA to give Ryan the award he has earned. That petition now boasts over 474,000 signatures.