IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – The fight over the policy to ban participation in scouting, based on sexual orientation, took a symbolic turn in Irving Wednesday morning, inside the national headquarters for the Boy Scouts of America.
Jen Tyrrell, a mother from Ohio, and former local Cub Scout den mother, delivered approximately 300,000 signatures attached to a petition campaign, calling for her reinstatement, and an end to BSA policy that prohibits gay scouts and homosexual scout leaders.
“I want the great aspects of scouting for my son”, Tyrrell said after meeting with BSA officials at the Irving BSA Museum.
After delivering the signatures Tyrrell said she has and still thinks that the Boy Scouts of America is a great organization. “My biggest thing is I love Scouts,” she said. “I’m not here to bash the Scouts. I’m not here to say anything negative necessarily about the Scouts.”
Tyrrell is a lesbian. Her seven-year-old son Cruz Burns was a member of the Cub Scouts, until the national BSA office informed Tyrell of their policy.
“Today, representatives from the BSA accepted an online petition from Jennifer Tyrrell and her family”, BSA spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement. “The BSA values the freedom of everyone to express their opinion and believes to disagree does not mean to disrespect.”
Based on the fact that the BSA is a private organization, in 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the Scouts can have the exclusion policy.
Tyrrell said the ‘private organization’ exception should not apply. “Well, it’s a private organization almost when it seems when it’s convenient,” she said. “They use a lot of public buildings, school buildings, things that taxpayers pay for. When you start using things that taxpayers pay for that no longer becomes private.”
On Tuesday, national Scouts’ spokesman Deron Smith confirmed that in 2010 a special committee had been formed to review the BSA policy of not permitting leaders to be gay or atheist. Smith said the 11-member group, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, concluded that the ban is “absolutely the best policy” for the BSA.
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