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Romney, Wahls on Boy Scouts Antigay Policy

Romney, Wahls on Boy Scouts Antigay Policy

by Karen Ocamb on July 18, 2012

(UPDATED 10:10am) Current TV uncovered this Mitt Romney gem – a classic of having it both ways: the Boy Scouts should be able to do whatever they want to do AND he thinks everyone should be included. Meanwhile, gay rights advocate Zach Wahls, a former Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality, responded to Tuesday’s renewal of the Boy Scouts of America’s strict antigay policy by calling on BSA to identify the secret 11 board members who made that decision (see below). On Wednesday morning, in what the Dallas Morning News described as a “circus-like scene” at BSA headquarter in Irving, Texas, Ohio lesbian mom Jennifer Tyrrell and her son Cruz presented three boxes of petitions to BSA officials. (This story is developing).

UPDATE 10:10am:

Jennifer Tyrrell, Alice Burns and their sons at news conference at Boy Scouts headquarters, with Mark Anthony Dingbaum from Change.org (Photo courtesy GLAAD)

Jennifer Tyrrell delivered more than 300,000 petition signatures and met with Boy Scout national spokesperson Deron Smith at BSA headquarters in Irving, Texas Wednesday morning, GLAAD reports.  She called on BSA to end it ban on gay scouts and LGBT leaders and requested her reinstatement as a den mother for her son Cruz’s Boy Scout pack. She was told no.

Tyrrell said:

“This movement doesn’t stop because 11 anonymous men behind closed doors made a decision to keep discrimination in place,” Tyrrell said. “This petition may have started out for me and my son, but it’s grown into something much bigger. Something much more important. Today, when you read through the comments on my petition, you can read the stories of literally thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts who are hoping the Boy Scouts of America will take this moment and end this policy of discrimination against gay Americans.”

Zach Wahls (see more below) also announced the launch of a new petition calling on BSA to allow its Executive Board vote on a resolution to end the ban, as many believed they were expected to do before the secret committee voted to uphold the ban. Wahl’s petition is here: http://www.change.org/scoutsvote. Wahls will also raise the issue at the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) on July 30 in Michigan which thousands of scouts are expected to attend.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said:

“The real people impacted by this ban are gay young adults who are forced to hide who they are as well as the children of gay parents who are denied an opportunity to participate their children’s lives,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “By standing behind this ban, the Boy Scouts of America are contributing to a climate that promotes the bullying of gay young people and putting parents in a place where they are forced to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are not welcomed in the organization. Discrimination is not a value that should be associated with scouting.”

Zach Wahls said on Current TV:

“There has to be transparency and accountability. We don’t know who these people are or where they fall in the organization. We don’t even know whether they are Boy Scouts,…Until we have a meaningful level of transparency and accountability, then color me skeptical about this decision. I contend that this hasn’t changed anything.”

Current TV also created a pretty handy timeline of some of the key historical events marking BSA antigay discrimination.  GLAAD created a nice little infographic, too (h/t David Badash @ New Civil Rights Movement):

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