News release from Change.org:
GAY MOM REMOVED FROM BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA PETITIONS GROUP TO ALLOW GAY AND LESBIAN YOUTH AND LEADERS
More than 115,000 support groundbreaking campaign started by Jennifer Tyrrell on Change.org asking Boy Scouts to stop discriminating against gay and lesbian scouts and leaders
Josh Hutcherson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Glee’s Max Adler and Grant Gustin, and more show support at 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards
NEW YORK, NY – More than 115,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org started by Jennifer Tyrrell, a mother of a seven-year-old Cub Scout who was dismissed from her position of den leader by the Boy Scouts of America for being gay. Jennifer was removed from the position in March 2012 after nearly a year of exemplary service, during which her scouts were honored for their commitment to volunteerism, leadership, and community service.
Video of Tyrrell, her partner Alicia Burns and their four children sharing their story at the GLAAD Media Awards is available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WuqLJtoXyY. Her petition is available at http://change.org/scouts.
Jennifer’s petition urges the Boy Scouts of America to end their long-held policy that forbids lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth and gay LGBT leaders from participating in scouting. Her petition has drawn support from more than 115,000 Americans, including hundreds of current boy scouts, scout leaders, and former scouts. Celebrities including Josh Hutcherson, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Max Adler (Glee), Grant Gustin (Glee), Benicio del Toro, Chaz Bono, Tabatha Coffey, Mark Deklin (GCB), Trevor Donovon (90210), Laura san Giacomo, LZ Granderson, Joshua Jackson, Gilles Marini, Kyle Richards (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), Miriam Shor (GCB), Hudson Taylor, Lisa VanderPump (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills), and Kim Wayans (Pariah) showed support for Jennifer’s campaign at the 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards this past weekend.
“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.
“The tide is turning. Look at the number of current and former scouts signing this petition, as well as the overwhelming support I’ve received in my own community from the scouts and families I used to lead,” said Tyrrell. “Together we can be heard, and this movement can send a message to the Boy Scouts that their policies against gay youth and gay leaders create nothing but division, frustration, and pain for scouting families and communities.”
Live signature totals from Jennifer Tyrrell’s campaign: