Gay Eagle Scout Demands Amazon Cut Ties With BSA

By Daniel Reynolds

Originally published on Advocate.com May 19 2014 2:07 PM ET

A gay Boy Scout will be delivering a petition with over 120,000 supporters to Amazon this week, demanding the online retail group sever ties with the Boy Scouts of America.

Pascal Tessier, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout, is asking Amazon to remove the BSA from its AmazonSmile program, which allows shoppers to done 0.5 percent of their purchases toward a charitable organization.

Tessier, who was one of the first gay scouts to achieve the BSA's highest rank after the organization began allowing openly gay youth members January 1, has pointed out the AmazonSmile admission policy, which requires that eligible groups "do not engage in, support, encourage, or promote … intolerance, discrimination or discriminatory practices based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age."

Amazon is currently standing firm in its inclusion of the organization in its AmazonSmile registry, even after representatives from the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD contacted Amazon and pointed out this policy.

While the BSA amended its policy regarding gay youth members, the group still bars gay adults from participating. Tessier, who may be asked to leave the organization when he turns 18, wrote in his petition to Amazon that “discrimination is nothing to smile about.” Tessier’s older brother Lucien, who came out shortly after attaining the rank of Eagle, is ineligible to become a BSA leader because he is gay.

Tessier will deliver the Change.org petition, which was originally launched to protest the ousting of gay scoutmaster Geoff McGrath from his Seattle-area troop, Wednesday to Amazon headquarters in Seattle. He will be joined by McGrath as well as LGBT advocacy groups GLAAD and Scouts for Equality. The date coincides with the commencement of the Boy Scouts National Meeting in Nashville.

In addition to the BSA, AmazonSmile allows shoppers to donate at least one other antigay organization: the National Organization for Marriage, a nonprofit group that campaigns against marriage equality and adoption by same-sex couples.