Scouts Booted Lesbian Den Leader Solely for Sexual Orientation

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com April 18 2012 5:49 PM ET

A community in Ohio has rallied around the mother of a Tiger Scout who was ejected from her position as a den leader because of her sexual orientation.

Jennifer Tyrrell led her son's pack for a year before her sexual orientation became an issue, according WTOV News. She said she was initially hesitant to take the position because of the Boy Scouts of America's stance against homosexuality among scouts and leaders. A year later, she was elected treasurer of her pack, and uncovered inconsistencies in the pack's finances, she said. When she shed light on the fiscal discrepancies, she was then told she could not return to her position because she is a lesbian.  

Parents and friends gathered for a peaceful protest Tuesday at a church in support of Tyrrell. Meanwhile, Tyrrell launched a Change.org petition asking the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy against gay youth and leaders.

Bob Drury, a scout executive for the Ohio River Valley, told WTOV that the decision to pull Tyrrell from her position was based solely on the fact that she is a lesbian.

"We do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals," he said. adding, "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to develop a character and leadership skills and [for] the youth of today to become the leaders of tomorrow. And anything that distracts from that mission distracts from what our program is."

Herndon Graddick, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, condemned the national organization for allowing such a decision.

"The Boy Scouts of America is one of the only cultural institutions to categorically discriminate against LGBT Americans," he said in a statement Wednesday. "Sending the message to America’s youth that they or their parents are somehow less than everyone else is dangerous, inaccurate, and should be changed immediately."