NY Boy Scouts Council hires openly gay Eagle Scout, defies BSA ban

The Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts of America has hired an openly gay Eagle Scout as an adult camp leader, despite the national leadership's lingering ban on openly LGBT adults. The Scout, 18 year-old Pascal Tessier, has been an outspoken advocate for equality in the BSA and has worked alongside GLAAD since 2013 to end the Boy Scouts' ban on LGBT participants.

BuzzFeed exclusively broke the news:

“We’ve accepted [Tessier], he was put through the normal process,” Richard Mason, a board member of the Greater New York Councils and spokesman for the councils, told BuzzFeed News. “They have not, to my knowledge, rejected him, so, as far as we are concerned, this young man is coming to work, is ready to do so this summer.” ...

“From our perspective, it’s really direct,” he said. “This is a young man, who is also an Eagle Scout, very well qualified, applied for a job with one of the summer camps that the Greater New York Councils runs. On the merits, his applications clearly passes our standards … and we don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. So, we’ve accepted his application on the merits.”

Should the national leadership of the organization seek to have Tessier removed, his lawyer David Boies -- who famously worked to overturn California's discriminatory ban on marriage equality -- is prepared to defend the young man:

Boies, known for pairing with Ted Olson in challenging marriage bans in California and Virginia, is hopeful about the hire — but ready to take on the Boy Scouts should they reject Tessier’s employment.

“We’re hopeful that this signals the end of the last vestige of the Scouts’ discrimination,” Boies said of Tessier’s hiring. Of the national BSA’s policy, however, he added, “That’s obviously against the law in a number of states, including New York.”

Last year, he became the first openly gay Boy Scout to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, and was with fellow Boy Scouts members and leaders when they first marched for equality at NYC Pride. He has long advocated for the BSA to become fully inclusive of LGBT members and leaders. Now, he is demonstrating first-hand how capable LGBT people are of filling those roles.

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 attracted more than 350,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts' ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders. More than two million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition.