I wrote the other day about Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, whom the Boy Scouts expelled as den leader of her son’s Cub Scout troop because she is a lesbian. Now, her Change.org petition asking the Boy Scouts to reconsider their policy of not permitting gay Scouts or leaders has gained nearly 130,000 signatures.
Tyrrell also spoke last weekend at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, and you can see the video of her, her partner Alicia Burns and their four children after the jump.
GLAAD noted in a press release that hundreds of current scouts, scout leaders, and former scouts have signed her petition, along with a slew of celebrities.
GLAAD further informs us (my emphasis):
“The Boy Scouts are supposed to have a platform of tolerance, acceptance, and support—values that drew my son Cruz to be a scout, and that drew me to want to be a den leader,” said Tyrrell. “Yet by continuing to dismiss gay youth and gay leaders from their organization, the Boy Scouts of America is failing these values, harming families and communities by sending a message that all are not welcome.”
Bob Drury, a scout executive for the Ohio River Valley, attempted to defend the decision to ban Tyrrell to WTOV-TV. “We do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avow homosexuals,” said Drury. “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to develop a character and leadership skills and [for] the youth of today to become the leaders of tomorrow. And anything that distracts from that mission, distracts from what our program is.” WTOV-TV reported that the decision was “solely based on her sexual orientation.”
Tyrrell responded: “Boy Scouts is about teaching kids to be better adults. We’re not doing that by teaching them to hate or discriminate. They know that I care about them, that I lead them and that they can trust me. This is about parents being able to bond with their children. The Boy Scouts of America have denied me the ability to bond with my son and are teaching children to treat others unfairly.”
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.
If you have boys of the right age, are they or have they been in Scouting? What influenced that decision? If they are too young, would you let them be in Scouts when they are old enough?