IRVING, TEXAS – On Tuesday, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its longstanding policy to exclude LGBT persons, setting off a firestorm of criticism directed at the 102-yearold organization. The decision of an 11-member special committee— which deliberated in secret for two years—upholding the ban means that BSA’s national executive board will take no further action with respect to the rule.
Jennifer Tyrrell, the gay mother who was forced to quit serving as her son’s Scout den leader, was in Dallas this week, where she delivered a 300,000-signature petition to the national headquarters of BSA. The petition, launched in April after Tyrrell’s unceremonious ouster, asked BSA to end their policy prohibiting gay scouts and scout leaders, and to reinstate her to her Scouting post.
Scouting officials cited support from parents across the country as a reason for upholding the exclusion policy. BSA national spokesman Deron Smith said that the ban “is absolutely the best policy” for Scouting. According to Smith, the decision of the committee—which was comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers— was unanimous.
It reaffirms a longstanding policy that was upheld in 2000 by the U.S. Supreme Court. LGBT rights groups expressed anger over the decision. “With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).