By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com February 05 2013 12:07 PM ET
Petitions were delivered Monday morning to the Boy Scouts of America's board members, urging them to change the national policy barring openly gay scouts and troop leaders.
Both gay and straight scouts and leaders delivered a bundle of petitions bearing a total of 1.4 million signatures from Americans who weighed in on the policy, according to GLAAD. The petitions were handed off to board members at the the BSA's Irving, Texas, headquarters, where the policy is one of the chief concerns during a three-day conference.
Among the group of leaders and scouts delivering the signatures was Jennifer Tyrrell, a mother who was forced to step down from her leadership position because she is a lesbian.
"Countless Boy Scouts and leaders have been removed from scouting just because they are being who they are," Tyrrell said, according to the Associated Press. "I don't want one parent to have to tell their sons they can't be part of Scouts because they're not good enough."
Others delivering the petition were gay Eagle Scout Will Oliver, gay former scoutmaster Greg Bourke, and Eric Andresen, father of a gay Scout denied his Eagle Award.
"Millions have been moved to speak out in favor of ending the antigay ban from across religions, race, and political backgrounds including current scouts and corporate sponsors," GLAAD president Herndon Graddick said in a statement Tuesday. "While an end to the ban will strengthen scouting and stop the harm it caused to so many young gay people, the campaign for change will continue until the national policy is one where every young gay person is allowed to participate."
BSA spokesman Deron Smith issued a statement after receiving the signatures stating that the organization makes sure to "treat everyone with courtesy." He added, "The BSA has received a great deal of feedback from a variety of viewpoints, and we appreciate everyone sharing their perspective on this issue."