BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Zach Wahls on Wednesday presented more than 275,000 signed petitions to the Boys Scouts of America, calling for the organization to allow gay and lesbian members and masters.
Wahls also met with Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith, in Orlando for the scouts' national meeting.
“While today's meeting was productive and thoughtful, the delivery of these petitions marks the beginning of this journey, not the end,” said Wahls, in a news release from Change.org. “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."
On Tuesday, Smith told The Miami Herald "the BSA does not plan to change its policy."
Wahls became well known in 2011 when he spoke to the Iowa legislature on behalf of his family. He opposed a resolution that would end civil unions in Iowa. The YouTube video of Wahls speaking to the legislature went viral and has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.
In April, Wahls published a memoir, My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family. It recounts his life being raised by Terry Wahls and Jackie Reger, a lesbian couple who married three years ago in Iowa.
On April 10, Jennifer Tyrrell started a petition on the website Change.org after her 7-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop removed her as den leader because she is a lesbian. Since then, more than 275,000 people have signed the petition, including celebrities Josh Hutcherson, Benicio Del Toro, Julianne Moore, Fran Drescher, Ricky Martin, Kelly Osbourne and Jesse Tyler Ferguson