GRAPEVINE — LGBT advocates called on the Boy Scouts of America Wednesday afternoon to pass a resolution that would welcome gay youth into its ranks, so the organization can remain relevant in an accepting America.
In a crowded meeting room at the Great Wolf Lodge, dozens of advocates for the resolution listened to two panels of leaders and Scouts who’d been affected by the national gay ban during the first day of the Equal Scouting Summit.
Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality, spoke about his time in the Scouts with his two moms. He said the push for inclusive Scouting has grown over the past year, adding that full inclusion of gay leaders also needs to happen with a BSA nondiscrimination policy.
“It is clear that if Scouting is not willing to move forward on this issue, it will be left behind,” Wahls said, adding that Scouting is too much of an American institution to lose it over hate. “We cannot afford to lose this great cultural icon.”
Maryland Scout Pascal Tessier will be directly affected by the vote the National Council takes Thursday. He is months away from receiving his Eagle Scout Award, only having to complete his leadership service project over the summer to be eligible. But his being an openly gay Scout will prevent him from receiving an honor he’s worked toward since he was 7.
Tessier said he was told that his council likely would not approve the award if the resolution fails. And he will miss out on the joy of receiving the honor that his older brother, who is also gay, received years ago.
“Being gay doesn’t define who I am,” he said. “But because I want to stand up for what I believe is right, I won’t be able to get my Eagle Scout Award like my brother did.”
Tessier told Dallas Voice that he didn’t even think about being kicked out when he decided to come out as a gay Scout, wanting to “put a voice to the people who can’t come out.”
“I thought I should be here for all people that can’t,” he said.