The Boy Scouts confirmed today that it is considering a change of policy that lets gay scouts and leaders serve openly in local chapters.
The announcement comes after activist Zach Wahls delivered 275,000 petition signatures to the group and met with its leadership. Wahls, an Eagle Scout who has two moms, was outraged that a lesbian mother had been removed as den leader for a Cub Scout troop. And he got back into his uniform and delivered the petition on her behalf last week.
"I love the organization and I refuse to stand by idly as it forfeits its cultural relevancy at the very moment this country needs it most," said Wahls, author of My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength, and What Makes a Family.
Ohioan Jennifer Tyrrell was a volunteer for her 7-year-old son's troop and said that after a year of service she lost the post and had her membership revoked "just because I happen to be gay." Tyrrell was told that being gay meant she did "not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks."
Now nearly 300,000 people have signed Tyrrell's petition on Change.org. And that includes a growing list of celebrities such as The Hunger Games's Josh Hutcherson, singer Ricky Martin and Glee's Dianna Agron.
A spokesman for the Boy Scouts said a resolution on the change was submitted by a Scout leader in April, before Wahls's visit, and it will now be considered by a committee. He emphasized that similar resolutions have been considered in the past, as early as 2000.
If the policy change is approved this time, the Boy Scouts wouldn't make any change until 2013, but Tyrrell said in reaction that it "is definitely a huge step in the right direction."
"I was heartbroken," Tyrrell said of losing her job a den leader. "But the blow was softened by the outpouring of support I received from my community and the parents of the boys I had dedicated myself to. I know if it was up to my community, I'd still be a Cub Scout Den Leader today."