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Kat Graham Shows Support for Gay Mom Ousted as Boy Scouts Leader on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”

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Eagle Scout Zach Wahls to Deliver Change.org Petition to Boy Scouts of America at National Annual Meeting Tomorrow

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

May 29, 2012

New York, NY, May 29, 2011 – Today singer and star of the CW’s Vampire Diaries Kat Graham dedicated her performance of “Put Your Graffiti On Me” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to Jennifer Tyrrell, a mother of four from Bridgeport, Ohio who was ousted from the Boy Scouts of America as her son's scout leader last month because she is gay. The Boy Scouts of America currently ban gay scouts and gay scout leaders.

Kat Graham, whose debut EP Against the Wall was released exclusively on iTunes today, began her performance with a message of inclusion: "In my scout troop everyone's welcome!" To see her performance visit: http://www.glaad.org/blog/kat-graham-shows-support-gay-mom-ousted-boy-scouts-leader-ellen-degeneres-show. Graham was inspired after hearing Jennifer speak at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards last month. Video is also available on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4IGShoVA9Y

Tomorrow Zach Wahls, author of “My Two Moms” and an Eagle Scout, will deliver more than 275,000 petition signatures at the Boy Scouts of America’s National Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The Change.org petition started by Jennifer Tyrrell urges the Boy Scouts of America to end their policy prohibiting gay scouts and gay scout leaders.

Over 275,000 Americans have joined Jennifer’s Change.org petition (http://change.org/scouts) calling on the BSA to reinstate her as a scout leader and end its ban. Despite the public support, Wayne Brock, who was named Chief Scout Executive last week and became the organization’s highest ranking leader, told the Associated Press on May 23, 2012 that the organization has “no plans to revisit the Scouts’ policy of not allowing gays.” The organization also refused to meet with Jennifer. The Girl Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as the 4H Club all welcome young adults as well as adult leaders.

Celebrities including Julianne Moore, Josh Hutcherson, Ricky Martin, Max Adler and Grant Gustin (Glee), Tamra Barney, Chaz Bono, Tabatha Coffey, Trevor Donovan, Fran Drescher, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Perez Hilton, LZ Granderson, Lisa Lampanelli, Joshua Jackson, Jane Leeves, Sean Maher, Kelly Osbourne, Kyle Richards, Darryl Stephens, Kim Wayans, Rita Wilson, and Lisa VanderPump have tweeted or showed support for Jennifer at the GLAAD Media Awards. Additional names here: http://glaad.org/equalityscouts

After being told on April 12, 2012 that she could no longer serve as her son's scout leader, Jennifer has inspired national support for the BSA to end the ban. David J. Sims resigned as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio River Valley Council of BSA following the decision, saying that it went against his "fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human beings and is, in my opinion, wholly discriminatory." To read his link click here. California lawmakers this month voted on a measure pushing the BSA to adopt more LGBT-friendly policies, The L.A. Times reported. The president of the James Beard Foundation announced that she would rescind her acceptance of the Boy Scouts' Distinguished Citizen Award, noting the Scouts' policy prohibiting gay people from service and leadership.

Among those opposed to the ban on LGBT scouts is Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who said in a 1994 video: "I believe that the Boy Scouts of America does a wonderful service for this country. I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation." Video of Romney's remarks is available is available at http://www.glaad.org/blog/republican-presidential-candidate-mitt-romney-gay-people-should-be-able-serve-boy-scouts

"With so many Americans spanning race, political and faith traditions speaking out against the discriminatory policy, how can the Boy Scouts of America continue to ignore our requests to meet and discuss this policy?" said Jennifer Tyrrell. "By keeping this policy, the Boy Scouts of America are hurting young children and teaching them that discrimination is okay."

"By refusing to treat LGBT scouts and scout leaders with dignity and respect and by ignoring Jen's calls for a meeting, the BSA is working in direct opposition to the values-based leadership training which is at the root of scouting,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick.