Jennifer Tyrrell Hub

Boy Scouts to Vote Today on Proposal to Lift Ban on Gay Scouts (and Continue Ban on Gay Leaders)

The Boy Scouts, whose national council is currently in a meeting at its headquarters in Dallas, plans its long awaited vote on the organization's gay ban today, the NYT reports:

BsaIn a secret ballot, more than 1,400 volunteer leaders from scouting’s 270 councils will accept or reject a proposal that has led to strident divisions and debate. The emotions were evident Wednesday outside the conference center here in a suburb of Dallas, where dozens of conservative Christians, many in scout uniforms, carried “no” signs and waved American flags.

“We’re trying to uphold traditional values,” said Bill Lizzio, 58, a scout leader who had driven from Tennessee to register his concern.

Angry parents threatened to pull their sons out of scouting, saying they would never let them share a tent with a gay boy. Current and former Boy Scouts who want to end the exclusionary policy, including several who were forced out of scouting for being gay, gave their own news briefing.

David Rice, 84, of Petaluma, Calif., who said he was ejected as a scout leader in 1998 after he publicly advocated including gays, said that if scouting did not change with the culture, “it will be left behind.”

“We cannot afford to lose this American icon,” he said.

As you'll remember, the Boy Scouts' new proposal is to allow gay scouts in but continue to ban gay leaders, a proposal called unacceptable by LGBT organizations and many observers. Read the proposal HERE.

Reuters reports:

Gay rights activists called for delegates to approve the policy change and vowed to continue their efforts until the Boy Scouts lifts its ban on gay adult leaders as well.

"There is nothing Scout-like about exclusion of other people, and there is nothing Scout-like about putting your own religious beliefs before someone else's," said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout raised by two lesbians and founder of Scouts for Equality.

Gay rights advocates gathered petitions with more than 1.8 million signatures supporting an end to the ban. Supporters of the current policy gathered petitions with about 250,000 signatures.

WahlsAdds the L.A. Times:

If the proposal passes as expected, some troops and the religious groups that sponsor them will withdraw from the national organization, they have said — a dangerous possibility for a group whose membership has decreased by nearly 19% during the last decade, according to the most recent figures from 2011.

Orr said that her troop leaders planned to meet to discuss what to do but that nationwide "there will be a huge loss of membership and revenue." About 70% of troops are sponsored by religious groups, and the ban is backed by the Southern Baptist Convention, Family Research Council and other conservative religious organizations.

"My religious beliefs cannot be compromised," said Mike Duncan, 46, a scoutmaster who described himself as Christian and traveled to the protest from Johnson City, Tenn., upset that opponents of the ban have brought sex and politics into Scouting.

"They're asking churches to support something that is wrong," he said.

GLAAD has been updating a live blog on the ground in Dallas and former Eagle Scout Zach Wahls and ousted den leader Jennifer Tyrrell have been speaking at press conferences...check out their photos and videos here.

Scouting for Equality's Wahls wrote a strong editorial for PolicyMic yesterday. Here he is speaking at yesterday's press conference on the ground in Dallas.

(images above, via glaad)

Boy Scouts to Receive Delivery of More Than 1.4 Million Petitions Calling for End to Gay Ban


GLAAD reports that the Boy Scouts of America are set to get a huge delivery this morning.

TyrrellOn Monday, at 11:00 Central, Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Dallas will get a visit from ousted Boy Scout mom Jennifer Tyrrell, gay Eagle Scout Will Oliver, gay former Scoutmaster Greg Bourke, and Eric Andresen, father of a gay Scout denied his Eagle Award - and they'll be bringing with them the voices of more than a million Americans who want the BSA to end its ban on gay scouts and volunteers.

The national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America are gathered this week for to discuss an end to the organization’s discriminatory ban.

"Millions have been moved to speak out in favor of ending the anti-gay ban from across religions, race, and political backgrounds including current scouts and corporate sponsors," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "While an end to the ban will strengthen scouting and stop the harm it caused to so many young gay people, the campaign for change will continue until the national policy is one where every young gay person is allowed to participate."

Today, the Family Research Council and other hate groups took out a full-page ad in USA Today urging the BSA to retain its anti-gay policies.

President Obama weighed in in a 60 Minutes interview that ran before the Super Bowl, saying that the Boy Scouts should allow gays to join its organization . Said Obama: "My attitude is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does, in every institution and walk of life."

Boy Scouts Assured Hate Group Leader Their Anti-Gay Policy Would Stay: AUDIO


The Boy Scouts have a close relationship with AFA's Bryan Fischer and reassured him that they wouldn't be relenting on their anti-gay policies after he raised a stink about it on his hate broadcast.


Asks Jeremy Hooper: "Did the Boy Scouts call GLAAD? HRC? Did they reach out to any of our groups to discuss their policy, or did they confine their outreach to a man who once said that 'Homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler' (among countless other things)?"

The NYT reports on yesterday's announcement:

Under growing public pressure to reconsider the issue, in 2010 the Boy Scouts formed a committee of 11 “volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy was in the best interests of the organization,” the statement said. The committee “included a diversity of perspectives” and engaged in “extensive research and evaluations,” the statement said. But the committee was kept secret until now, and the Scouts declined to reveal its membership or methods.

Meanwhile, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls and ousted den mother Jennifer Tyrrell responded to the news.

Bs_wahlsSaid Wahls, slamming the group's secrecy:

“This announcement is old news. We've heard this line before, and I'm sure they'll keep saying this until the day they decide to change the policy. This announcement, moreover this ‘process,’ is just a distraction. We know where this is headed.. Above all, what is most disappointing about today's announcement is the secretive nature surrounding how this conclusion was reached. The very first value of the Scout Law is that a Scout is trustworthy. There is absolutely nothing trustworthy about unelected and unnamed committee members who are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.”

Added Tyrrell, who will deliver 300,000 petitions to Scout headquarters today:

“A secret committee of 11 people can't ignore the hundreds of thousands of people around the country -- including thousands of Eagle Scouts, scout families, and former scouts -- that want the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders removed. This campaign doesn't stop, and we will continue to show the Boy Scouts that discrimination and intolerance have no place in scouting. On Wednesday, I look forward to sharing with the BSA thousands of comments from families like mine that say the time is now to end this anti-gay policy."

Continue reading "Boy Scouts Assured Hate Group Leader Their Anti-Gay Policy Would Stay: AUDIO" »

National Boy Scouts Board Member Calls for End to Gay Ban

James Turley, the Global Chairman & CEO of Ernst & Young, last night called on the Boy Scouts of America to drop its discriminatory policy against gay scouts and scout leaders.

TurleySaid Turley in a statement to CNBC:

“Ernst & Young is proud to have such a strong record in LGBT inclusiveness. As CEO, I know that having an inclusive culture produces the best results, is the right thing for our people and makes us a better organization. My experience has led me to believe that an inclusive environment is important throughout our society and I am proud to be a leader on this issue. I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning and service, however the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse. As I have done in leading Ernst & Young to being a most inclusive organization, I intend to continue to work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress.”

Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio den mother who was ousted from her position for being a lesbian, launched a petition campaign calling on Turley and another BSA Board Member —the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson — to stand with her in calling for an end to the ban.

Boy Scouts to Review Policy on Gays

The Boy Scouts have agreed to consider a resolution submitted by a Scout leader from the Northeast in April and presented at the BSA's annual meeting last week in Orlando that would allow individual troops to accept gay people as scout leaders, the AP reports:

Bs_wahlsBSA spokesman Deron Smith said Wednesday it would be referred to a subcommittee, which will then make a recommendation to the national executive board. The process would likely be completed by May 2013, according to Smith, who said there were no plans at this time to change the policy.

The announcement comes following last week's delivery of 275,000 petitions calling on the organization to lift its ban on gay people which were delivered by Eagle scout Zach Wahls on behalf of Jennifer Tyrrell a lesbian Ohio den mother who was ousted from her job last month.

Wahls, in a telephone interview, said he and his allies planned a campaign to mobilize opposition to the gay-exclusion policy from within Scout ranks, with the goal of building pressure for the resolution to be approved.

"Up to the day they end this policy, they'll be saying they have no plans to do so," Wahls said. "But there's no question it's costing the Boy Scouts in terms of membership and public support."

Wahls made a statement in a release from GLAAD:

“Last Wednesday I delivered 275,000 petition signatures -- including the signatures of thousands of scouts and scout leaders -- to the Boy Scouts of America because I love the organization and I refuse to stand by idly as it forfeits its cultural relevancy at the very moment this country needs it most,” said Wahls. “In proposing to allow local charter organizations to decide whether or not they’ll include gay youth and leaders within their ranks, the Boy Scouts of America has taken an historic step forward, and I applaud their bravery in doing so.”

Wahls met with the Boy Scouts of America’s Public Relations Director, Deron Smith, and other top-ranking Boy Scout officials who asked not to be named after delivering the 275,000 petition signatures to the organization’s annual national meeting last Wednesday.

“As both an Eagle Scout with a personal investment in the success of the Boy Scouts of America and as the son of a lesbian couple, it means a lot to see this change finally set in motion,” added Wahls.

Zach Wahls Delivers 275,000 Petitions to Boy Scouts Demanding End to Anti-Gay Discrimination


Zach Wahls, outspoken advocate for gay families and Eagle Scout, delivered 275,000 petitions today to the National Annual Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America demanding the organization reinstate lesbian den mother Jennifer Tyrrell and put an end to its discrimination against LGBT people, according to a release from

After delivering the signatures, Wahls met briefly with Deron Smith, Public Relation Director with the Boy Scouts of America’s national office.

“While today's meeting was productive and thoughtful, the delivery of these petitions marks the beginning of this journey, not the end,” said Wahls. “I thought our dialogue today was an honest one, and I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation in the months ahead. We leave today one step closer to religious and personal freedom than when we arrived, and it's hard to be anything but thrilled about that."

Said Tyrrell, who will appear with Wahls at the GLAAD Awards in San Francisco this weekend:

“I am so grateful for the support I’ve received from Zach and from the thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts who have signed my petition. If you look at the petition comments, and read through the thousands of entries left by current scouts and scout leaders, it’s clear that the energy within the Boy Scouts of America’s membership is there to change this policy. All it takes now is leadership.”

Wahls has also recently been lobbying Congress on behalf of gay families.

This week, Wahls also spoke to Reason TV about his new book My Two Moms and the future of same-sex marriage.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Zach Wahls Delivers 275,000 Petitions to Boy Scouts Demanding End to Anti-Gay Discrimination" »


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