Massachusetts Boy Scouts of America pack joins dozens of troops and councils nationwide in rejecting ban on gay Scouts and Scout Leaders

Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell calls for Ohio River Council to join those that oppose BSA ban

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

October 12, 2012

New York, NY, October 12, 2012 - GLAAD and Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell today urged Americans to support councils and troops affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America that proudly welcome and support all scouts and scouting families, despite the BSA’s national ban that prohibits gay people from participating. Tyrrell also sent a letter to the Ohio River Council asking them to follow the lead of other inclusive councils and allow her to apply to be den leader once again. In April 2012, she was ousted as her son’s den leader from Pack 109 in Ohio because she is gay. To read her letter to the Ohio River Council visit: http://www.glaad.org/blog/unprecedented-pressure-boy-scouts-lift-gay-ban-continues-growing-jennifer-tyrrell-eagle-scout

News broke yesterday that Cub Scout Pack 4 in Beverly, Massachusetts voted unanimously last month to ignore the BSA's ban on gay people.

For a list of more than a dozen other troops nationwide that reject the BSA’s discriminatory ban, visit http://www.scoutsforequality.com/our-goals/.

During this year’s annual sale of popcorn to benefit the BSA, Tyrrell is calling for Americans to purchase popcorn from one of these inclusive troops. She has also reached out to her local United Way to follow other United Way branches that do not fund the BSA troops that uphold the ban. The organization is currently reviewing her request.   

GLAAD and Tyrrell joined the national call for the BSA to reverse their decision to deny Ryan, a California teenager, the rank of Eagle Scout after he came out as gay. Over 350,000 people have signed a Change.org petition started by Ryan’s mother. The family appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show yesterday and will participate in media interviews in New York City today with GLAAD and Change.org.  

“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,” said Jennifer Tyrrell. “If other councils are allowing gay scouts and leaders without incident, then all councils should. The BSA is bullying Ryan after he completed every task necessary to achieve this rank.”

Tyrrell joins hundreds of thousands of Americans who support Ryan, including a 7 year-old Cub Scout named Miles from California. Miles, who has friends with gay parents, sent a handwritten letter to the Boy Scouts of America published in the San Francisco Chroncile that reads: "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." To view his letter visit: http://www.glaad.org/blog/unprecedented-pressure-boy-scouts-lift-gay-ban-continues-growing-jennifer-tyrrell-eagle-scout

“The BSA claims not to support bullying, but that is exactly what they are doing to upstanding and hard-working American teenagers like Ryan Andresen,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “All of the great work that the BSA does to help young people will continue to be overshadowed by their blatant discrimination until they join other inclusive national organizations like the Girl Scouts and the 4-H Club. The time is now for the BSA to end this unpopular and frankly un-American ban, otherwise they will continue to see sponsors and scouting families drop their support."

Last month, President Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, publicly stated his opposition to the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also stated his support for gay Americans participating in the Boy Scouts.

Jennifer Tyrrell was ousted as her 7 year-old son’s den leader in April 2012 because she is gay. Tyrrell began working with GLAAD and launched a Change.org petition to be reinstated that has over 300,000 signatures including celebrities such as Josh Hutcherson and Julianne Moore. Her petition prompted the CEOs of Ernst & Young LLP and AT&T, who are also members of the BSA Board of Directors, to decry the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. 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 letter click here. California lawmakers earlier this year voted on a measure pushing the BSA to adopt more LGBT-friendly policies, The L.A. Times reported.

Tyrrell’s petition was delivered to the BSA National Annual Meeting by Eagle Scout Zach Wahls in May 2012, after which he founded Scouts for Equality, an organization of current and former scouts who are working to end the ban. After Intel Foundation announced that they would no longer be donating $700,000 to the BSA because of the policy, Scouts for Equality launched a Change.org petition calling for UPS to follow suit.  

“While the rest of the nation is moving forward, often with corporate America leading the way, the Boy Scouts of America has decided to turn back by reaffirming this hurtful policy,” said Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls, who launched the campaign on Change.org. “If UPS wants to uphold its reputation as a champion of equality and a proud leader in corporate diversity, then it must cut ties with the Boy Scouts until their anti-gay policy is removed.”

“The Boy Scouts are certainly worthy of significant corporate support, but not while the organization is upholding a discriminatory policy that bans some of the best and brightest gay youth and leaders from within our ranks,” added Wahls.