News release from Change.org:
NEW YORK, NY – As more than 250,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org urging the Boy Scouts of America to end their policy prohibiting gay scouts and gay scout leaders, a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America has resigned, calling out the Boy Scouts’ policy as “wholly discriminatory.”
David J. Sims resigned from the Board on Friday, April 27, in a letter that cited his long history and support of scouting. But after Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell was ousted as the leader of her 7-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop because of her sexual orientation, Sims wrote in his letter that he could no longer reconcile his beliefs with his participation on the scouting board.
“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,” wrote Sims. “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.”
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) posted Sims’ letter online. To read the letter in full, visit: http://www.glaad.org/blog/boy-scouts-america-board-member-resigns-support-gay-ohio-mom.
Meanwhile, more than 250,000 people around the country -- including hundreds of current and former scouts and scout leaders -- have signed a petition on Change.org started by Tyrrell after she was removed as den leader. Celebrities including Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family), as well as Glee stars Max Adler and Grant Gustin have also joined in support of Tyrrell’s campaign.
“I’ve been touched by the long list of supporters who, like me, believe that discrimination should not be a part of the Boy Scouts of America’s policies,” said Tyrrell, who launched her petition on Change.org less than two weeks ago.
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 Scouts are losing board members, good volunteers and scouting families because of an outdated and discriminatory policy,” said Tyrrell. “The time is now for the Boy Scouts of America to join organizations like the Girl Scouts of America and the 4H Club in welcoming all, regardless of sexual orientation.”