Campaign to End Boy Scouts Gay Ban Gains Steam

A campaign spearheaded by an ousted den mother is gaining some momentum as it picks up the support of board members of the Boy Scouts. Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay mother from Bridgeport, Ohio, was no longer allowed to be a den mother in April of last year. Tyrrell started a petition on that has gathered more than 300,000 signatures and attracted the attention of Boy Scout board members including Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO James Turley and CEO of AT&T Randall Stephenson. Both are calling for an end to the ban.

Tyrrell is visiting the Boy Scout headquarters in Dallas on Tuesday to deliver the petition and address the media. "Our campaign to end the ban on gay Boy Scouts and leaders not only includes thousands of scouts and scout leaders, but has now been joined by two prominent members of the organization's board of directors," said Tyrrell in a press release. "How much longer can the Boy Scouts realistically hold on to this discriminatory policy when its leaders clearly disagree with it?"

Turley and now Stephenson are backing a resolution that would end the 102-year ban on gay scouts and troop leaders. The organization is said to be considering repealing the ban, which has created controversy as an increasing number of members of the storied organization as well as public figures and celebrities have spoken out on the matter.

With two prominent members of the board, who also happen to be the heads of major corporations, now backing the measure, the pressure is mounting on the scouting organization, which survived a legal challenge in 2000 that was upheld by the Supreme Court.

With controversy surrounding policies towards gays and lesbians in everything from marriage and employment to adoption and the clergy, it's no surprise the Boy Scouts have come under scrutiny for their policy.

Still, there is no indication the organization will repeal the ban or reinstate Tyrrell. "All I'm asking for is the opportunity to meet with a Boy Scouts official and resume my post as den leader of my son's Cub Scout Pack -- a post that was taken from me as a result of a discriminatory policy that's unpopular with Boy Scouts and leaders across the country," she said.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke