Gay Scouts Deliver 1.4 Million Signatures To Boy Scouts Demanding End To Gay Ban

Scouts’ board debates historic end to gay ban; Gay scouts deliver 1.4 million sigs to headquarters

Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications, GLAAD, (646) 871-8011, ferraro@glaad.org

Shareeza Bhola, Communications Manager, Change.org, (202) 684 2552, press@change.org

February 4, 2013

PHOTOS:
Link to photos from today’s petition delivery:
http://www.glaad.org/scouts/media  

***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

GAY SCOUTS DELIVER 1.4 MILLION SIGNATURES TO BOY SCOUTS DEMANDING END TO GAY BAN

 

  • Gay former den leader, gay former Scoutmaster, gay Eagle Scout, and father of gay Scout denied his Eagle Award delivered 1.4 million signatures from their combined Change.org petitions.
  • Petition delivery occurs as Boy Scouts Board holds historic vote on ending ban on gay Scouts and leaders.


DALLAS, TX – Four Scout leaders whose petitions on Change.org sparked a national movement to end the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay ban delivered more than 1.4 million petition signatures to Boy Scouts headquarters today as the organization’s Board of Directors began a three-day meeting to discuss overturning the policy.

The petitions were delivered by Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay mom removed from her position as den leader of her 8-year-old son’s Cub Scout pack; Greg Bourke, a gay dad who was forced to resign his position of assistant scoutmaster; Eric Andresen, the father of an 18-year-old gay Boy Scout who was barred from receiving his Eagle Award; and Will Oliver, a 20-year-old gay Eagle Scout.

Says Tyrrell, who launched her Change.org petition in April 2012 with support from GLAAD: “Today, I’m helping deliver more than 1.4 million Change.org petition signatures to the Boy Scouts of America, urging the national board to end the ban on gay youth and parents and give me the opportunity to once again serve my son’s Cub Scout Pack. I do not want one more mother or father to have to look their child in the eyes and tell them that their parents aren’t good enough - or are different. The Boy Scouts of America can do better than that.”

Says Bourke, whose partner and children traveled to Dallas with him to deliver signatures from his petition: “After being forced to resign, I received unanimous support from the Boy Scouts in my Troop, the other Troop adult Leaders, the Troop Committee, my pastor and everyone at my church. In the name of fairness, in the name of equality, in the name of God I ask the Executive Board to please end this harmful discrimination now.”

Says Andresen, delivering nearly half a million signatures from his family’s petition: “I want to tell the BSA that my son Ryan is not inferior and that no parent should ever have to go through delivering devastating news like I had to deliver to my son. I pray that the BSA national board starts to understand this, and acts quickly to make the incredible Scouting journey open to all young men across America.”

Says Oliver, a gay Eagle Scout whose petition called on the National Geographic Channel, a strategic partner of the BSA, to condemn the organization’s anti-gay policy: “We are all invested in the future of Scouting, but its appeal to American families is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain in the shadow of such an extreme stance. The new National Geographic show ‘Are You Tougher Than A Boy Scout?’ is probably not the change the organization needs. It’s time for Boy Scouts to join its peers, the Girl Scouts, Campfire USA, even the U.S. military, in welcoming members regardless of sexual orientation.”

After speaking outside Boy Scouts headquarters today, Tyrrell, Bourke, Andresen, and Oliver hand-delivered the petition signatures to a BSA representative.

Brad Hankins, campaign director for Scouts for Equality, said the people in Dallas today, as well as thousands of Scouts alumni and current Scouts around the country, are calling for an inclusive national organization.

Says Hankins: "In seven months, we've built an organization comprised of thousands of alumni Eagle Scouts, as well as current Scouts and Scoutmasters, who are all very concerned about the future health of an organization we cherish -- the Boy Scouts of America. We believe that this policy change must be enacted as a mitigated solution toward the final goal of ending discrimination throughout all of Scouting, lest the program be isolated on the fringe of our society. As America embraces universal equality, so should the Boy Scouts of America."

Says Mark Anthony Dingbaum, senior campaign manager at Change.org: “Today’s delivery marks one final push by the more than 1.4 million people who’ve taken action on Change.org demanding an end to the Boy Scout’s national ban on gay youth and parents. Through cutting-edge technology and powerful storytelling, Jennifer, Greg, Eric, and Will mobilized millions and stand at an historic moment where their work could undo years of discrimination.”

Says GLAAD President Herndon Graddick: “The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that banning gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong. The BSA will continue to hear from these advocates until discrimination against dedicated gay scouts is a thing of the past. Scouting is a valuable institution and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect.”

President Obama, in an interview before Sunday night’s Super Bowl, reaffirmed his position that the Boy Scouts of America should end their national ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

Live signature totals from Change.org petitions targeting the Boy Scouts of America:
http://www.change.org/boyscouts

Journalists interested in contacting Boy Scouts of America leadership should try:

Deron Smith

Public Relations, Boy Scouts of America

Deron.Smith@scouting.org

(972) 580 7848


For more information on Change.org, please visit:
http://www.change.org/about
Change.org is the world's largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. There are more than 20 million users in 196 countries who use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally.

For more information on GLAAD, please visit:
http://www.glaad.org
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) amplifies the voice of the LGBT community by empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively. By ensuring that the stories of LGBT people are heard through the media, GLAAD promotes understanding, increases acceptance, and advances equality. For more information, please visit http://glaad.org or connect with GLAAD at http://glaad.org/connect.

For more information on Scouts for Equality, please visit:
http://www.scoutsforequality.org/
Since 1991, the Boy Scouts of America has barred openly gay individuals from participating in its program at any level. Scouts for Equality will lead a respectful, honest dialogue with current and former Scouts and Scout Leaders about ending this outdated policy. By embodying the values of the Scout Oath and Law, we believe we can restore the social relevancy of one of this country’s great cultural institutions: the Boy Scouts of America.