Eagle Scout Challenges Boy Scouts’ Anti-Gay Policy With Petition
(ORLANDO, Fla.) — Eagle Scout Zach Wahls challenged the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy Wednesday when he delivered three boxes of petitions demanding change, signed by more than 275,000 people.
Wahls, 20, presented the petitions during the Boy Scouts’ National Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla., on behalf of Jennifer Tyrrell, an Ohio mom who was removed as the den leader of her 7-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop in April because of her sexual orientation. The Boy Scouts are the parent organization of the Cub Scouts.
Wahls is the author of My Two Moms and a video of his three-minute speech before Iowa legislators urging them not to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions went viral in February 2011.
The Change.org petition called for Tyrrell’s reinstatement and a change in policy for the organization.
“It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy of exclusivity against gay youth and leaders,” the petition reads. “Please sign this petition to call for an end of discrimination in an organization that is shaping the future.”
The petition has garnered support from celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Josh Hutcherson, Ricky Martin and Julianne Moore, among others.
After delivering the petitions, Wahls met privately with three Boy Scout representatives.
“It went well. It was an honest conversation, but a productive one,” Wahls told ABC News. “The fact that the meeting happened is a really positive indicator.”
Wahls said the Boy Scout leaders were “receptive” of his ideas and he believes the conversation is a positive first step in overcoming cultural prejudices.
Following the meeting, the Boy Scouts released a statement that said they have “no plans” to change their policy.
Wahls is not deterred by the statement.
“President Obama said the exact same thing up until the day he endorsed same-sex marriage. I expect we’ll see a similar progression from the Boy Scouts,” he said. “Obviously, this is a very long-standing policy and I don’t think it we’ll see a change today, this week or even this year. But over the coming months, we’ll continue to take steps in this evolution.”
Tyrrell, 32, was not in Florida for the delivery of the petitions, but will join Wahls at the GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco on Saturday. She told ABC News she is grateful for all of the support.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio