Ohio Board Member of Boy Scouts of America resigns following removal of gay mom as Scout Leader

Former Board Member writes: 'Ms. Tyrrell's removal goes against my fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human being and is, in my opinion, wholly discriminatory'

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

April 30, 2012
Over a quarter million Americans sign Change.org petition calling on BSA to end ban on gay scouts and scout leaders

New York, NY, April 30, 2012 – GLAAD, the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today drew attention to the resignation of a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) following the BSA’s decision to oust Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom from Bridgeport, Ohio, as her son’s scout leader because she is gay. The BSA currently bans LGBT scouts and scout leaders.

David J. Sims resigned from the Board on Friday, April 27 in a letter that cites his long history and support of scouting. He wrote:
“Ms. Tyrrell’s removal goes against my fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human beings and is, in my opinion, wholly discriminatory. I understand that the Boys Scouts of America is free to run its organization as it sees fit, however, I cannot formally be a part of it based upon this policy.”

To view the letter in full see below or visit: http://www.glaad.org/equalityscouts

Over 250,000 Americans have joined Tyrrell’s Change.org petition calling on the BSA to end its history of discrimination.

Supporters can join Tyrrell’s call here: http://change.org/scouts. A video of Jen sharing her story at the GLAAD Media Awards is available here: http://youtube.com/glaad. Celebrities including Josh Hutcherson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, as well as Glee stars Max Adler and Grant Gustin also showed support for Tyrrell and her family at the GLAAD Media Awards.

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/equalityscouts.

“I’ve been touched by the long list of supporters who, like me, believe that discrimination should not be a part of the Boy Scouts of America’s policies,” said Tyrrell. “The Scouts are losing Board Members, good volunteers and scouting families, and the time is now to join organizations like the Girl Scouts of America and the 4H Club in welcoming all.”

“The only ‘character development’ and ‘values-based leadership training’ the Boy Scouts have taught our young people in this case is that blatant discrimination is OK,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Tossing aside the hard work and leadership of a committed mom because of who she loves is not a ‘value’ that a majority Americans want taught to their children.”

Among service organizations, the Boy Scouts are increasingly isolating themselves with their prohibition on gay youth and leaders. Organizations including the Girl Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as the 4H Club all welcome gay kids as well as adult leaders. And just this month, 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.

FULL TEXT OF RESIGNATION LETTER:
April 27, 2012
Ohio River Valley Council
Boy Scouts of America

Attn: Bob Drury
P.O. Box 6186
Wheeling, WV 26003

Dear Bob:

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write to you today to inform you that I am resigning as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Yesterday, after receiving the email from Paul Tucker, I first learned the story of Jennifer Tyrrell, the den leader for Pack 109's Tiger Scouts in Bridgeport, Ohio, who was removed as leader solely due to her sexual orientation. I understand that this action was taken as a result of a standing policy of the Boy Scouts of America and that said action is legal. However, Ms. Tyrrell’s removal goes against my fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human beings and is, in my opinion, wholly discriminatory. I understand that the Boys Scouts of America is free to run its organization as it sees fit, however, I can not formally be a part of it based upon this policy.

My grandfather was an Eagle scout, my father was an Eagle scout and I am an Eagle Scout. Other than his family and his Christian faith, the most important thing in my father’s life was the Boy Scouts. The lived and breathed scouting. That is what makes this decision so exceedingly difficult and emotional. However, I know that my father would support my decision.

Best wishes to you, Ohio River Valley Council and the Boy Scouts of America in future endeavors. I hope that the powers that be will look into their hearts and find the wisdom and courage to re-examine the policies of the Boy Scouts of America.

Sincerely yours,
 
______________________

David J. Sims