The Boy Scouts have kicked the can down the road on the issue of gay scouts and troop leaders. Even though GLAAD and several former scouts and leaders delivered more than 1.4 million petition signatures to the BSA headquarters in Irving, TX calling for the ban on gay scouts and leaders to be dropped.
The BSA stated that “For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it’s youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.”
While the BSA has been part of the ‘fabric of this nation’ for that long, it is an organization that is slowly dying due to a shift in population living arrangements and a shift in social attitudes.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick stated “An organization that serves youth and chooses to intentionally hurt dedicated young people and hardworking parents not only flies in the face of American principles, but the principles of being a Boy Scout. The Boy Scouts of America is choosing to ignore the cries of millions, including religious institutions, current scouting families, and corporate sponsors, but these cries will not be silenced. We’re living in a culture where hurting young gay people because of who they are is unpopular and discriminatory. They had the chance to end the pain this ban has caused to young people and parents, they chose to extend the pain.”
Jennifer Tyrrell was booted from the Scouts for being lesbian. She had been the leader of her son’s Cub Scout Pack. She has been one of the more vocal advocates for rescinding the ban. She stated “A scout is supposed to be brave, and the Boy Scouts failed to be brave today. The Boy Scouts had the chance to help countless young people and devoted parents, but they’ve failed us yet again. No parent should have to loo their child in the eye and explain that the Boy Scouts don’t want us. Our fight will continue and we will continue to educate donors and supporters of the Boy Scouts about the effects of their anti-gay policy.”
Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls stated “This is an abdication of responsibility. By postponing this decision, the BSA has caved to those who argue that their anti-gay attitudes trump basic Scouting values of kindness, courtesy and bravery. Scouting was built on a foundation of respect and dignity. Today, the BSA cracked that foundation.”
Mark Anthony Dingbaum, the Senior Campaign Manager for Change.org, said “On Monday, the Boy Scouts of America received 1.4 million petition signatures urging the organization to end its national policy banning gay youth and parents, and today, those voices went unanswered. With 9 national campaigns and over 50 local campaigns already launched on Change.org calling for an end to the BSA’s policy, how many more stories of gay youth and leaders, like Ryan Andresen and Jen Tyrrell, need to surface before the Boy Scouts decide to end this policy?”