Boy Scouts Board Member Quits Over Dismissed Lesbian Den Mom

David J. Sims, a board member of the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) resigned over the BSA's recent decision to dismiss den mother Jennifer Tyrrell after learning she was a lesbian, GLAAD reports.

TyrrellWrote Sims in a letter to the Ohio River Valley Council of the BSA:

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.

A petition calling for Tyrrell's reinstatement has nearly 260,000 signatures as of this posting.


  1. NullNaught says

    Way to go mister Sims! What integrity. I especially appreciate he is doing this out of his sense of descency rather than it impacts anyone he deeply cares about personally. He just can’t support the policy morally. I can’t describe how good I feel about this guy.

  2. RONTEX says

    I just signed the petition for this guy, what a great voice to be heard amongst all the nut jobs out there.

  3. jim says

    nope – sorry. if one is in a position of power within a discriminatory organization, one should USE THAT POWER TO CHANGE IT.

    I’m an Eagle Scout, proud of my accomplishment and thankful for what I learned in Boy Scouts… and if I learned anything, its that leadership is about responsibility. Mr Sims had an opportunity to carry out change, and instead, shied away from his responsibility. Resigning is NOT standing up for equality!

  4. TampaZeke says

    Petitioning to reinstate this one den mother does not fix the problem. Even if she is reinstated it doesn’t change the policy that has resulted in the dismissal of countless other den mothers/fathers. The petition should be to change the unfair and unjust policy of the BSA.

  5. NullNaught says

    I see your point, but I believe that sometimes makeing a very public display such as this in the face of abuse is the most powerful thing one can do. Also, as one against many, he may have been stoped repeatedly in attempts he may have made to change things in the past. If he felt the thinking at the top was ossified, and that further resistance from within was useless, then he may have felt this was the best he could do. I don’t know any of that to be the case, but I can see arguments for the step he has taken.
    It is also responsible and honourable to resign one’s commision if one can’t carry it out in good conscience.

  6. jim says

    I hear you, and I agree that public resignation can be used as a quick splash to make a short lived point… but staying in his position and trying to change the policy would get a lot more done over the long haul, well after the headlines (such as this blog entry) fade from our memories.

  7. says

    @ Jim :
    I can’t agree. Should we have stayed within the Catholic Church while it calls us “defective” ( Ratzinger’s word)…..should we have had a realistic hope of changing it from within ?
    Mr. Sims did a courageous thing. Bravo.

  8. jim says

    If staying within the church could’ve made a difference, then yes. If not, then hell no. A church is very different though. The Boy Scouts is operated semi-democratically. The catholic church is a dictatorship.

  9. Paul R says

    @Jim: If you’re gay, then you get kicked out of the BSA. If you’re not gay, I don’t see your point at all.

    A good friend was an Eagle Scout and sued the Scouts for years after they kicked him out. He lost. You can’t change an organization impervious to change.

    They kicked me out when I 11 for skipping two grades. It’s an organization that doesn’t live up to its supposed standards.

  10. jim says

    @Paul R
    Sorry I wasnt clear. Mr. Sims held a position of power within his council. I’m just saying that he should’ve kept his post as long as possible to effect as much change as possible. Its unclear if he is gay, or made any attempt at changing the policy at his level or higher.

    When I was a scout, I came out shortly before going under review for the Eagle Scout award. No one removed me from the organization, nor did they deny me the award. From my experience, the BSA’s discrimination against gays is not a hard and fast rule. It only matters when people at Mr. Sims’ level choose to abide by it.

  11. Rrhain says

    No, Jim, Sims does not have the power to do so. By fighting against the top folks at BSA, all that will happen is him being removed from his post, too. They do not tolerate dissension in the ranks. It is why they have removed all Unitarian religious service medals: The Unitarians aren’t anti-gay enough.

    Now personally, as a Life Scout, I find the policy of exclusion of gay people to be in violation of most of the 12 Points of the Scout Law: It is neither Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Cheerful, Brave, nor Reverent. However, the BSA has long since shown that they would rather burn the institution to the ground than Do a Good Turn Daily.

  12. TampaZeke says

    So what happens if this petition is successful and this woman returns to her position? Is she then going to be happy that she gets to keep her position while the national policy stays in plays and countless others get dismissed? I really don’t see the point of asking for her reinstatement. The demand should be to change the policy and her reinstatement will take care of itself. Reinstating her doesn’t take care of the cause of the problem.

  13. Charles says

    You only need look at the advertisement on this page to realize that homosexuality is not moral and is not of God. Therefore it is not for the Boy Scouts of America.