Ousted lesbian den leader delivers petitions to Boy Scouts headquarters

Posted on 18 Jul 2012 at 1:00pm

Ousted lesbian den leader Jennifer Tyrrell delivers petitions calling for an end to the Boy Scouts’ gay ban at the group’s headquarters in Irving on Wednesday morning. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

 

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer

Standing in front of the National Boy Scout Museum on Wednesday morning, ousted Cub Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell said the Boy Scouts’ policy of exclusion is “hurting children and hurting families.”

Tyrrell was in Irving to deliver a Change.org petition with 300,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts of America.

After she received the phone call removing her from her position with the Scouts, “she sat around and cried for a few days,” according to Tyrrell’s partner Alicia Burns, who was also on hand Wednesday morning at BSA headquarters.

Anti-gay pastor Joey Faust demonstrated with two followers shouting about fornication while Tyrrell spoke to the media along with Mark Anthony Dingbaum of Change.org and Allison Palmer, vice president of campaigns and programs for GLAAD.

“Why can’t you tolerate the Boy Scouts decision?” Faust shouted. “The gays brought us AIDS …”

Palmer said GLAAD’s job is to tell stories about real people and that Tyrrell’s story resonates.

“Something comes across so clearly about her wanting to be a great parent,” Palmer said.

She called Tyrrell’s case an example of the consequences of policies like this hurting children.

Dingbaum said Change.org hosts 15,000 new petitions a month.

“Our job is to empower the petition starters,” he said.

And some of those petitions take off like this one and receive local as well as celebrity and other national support. Of the many new petitions started each month, only a few receive the national coverage that this one did.

After speaking to media, Tyrrell, Dingbaum and Burns carried boxes containing the signatures into the museum building.

Tyrrell, Burns and their two youngest children met with Boy Scouts representative Deron Smith for about 10 minutes. Tyrell wore her Scouting uniform with the right sleeve signed by George Takei. She and Takei rode in the New York Pride parade together.

When she emerged later, Tyrrell called the meeting cordial. She said she’d asked for proof of a meeting that Boy Scouts officials claim occurred after two years of study about the gay ban. The Boy Scouts announced the study this week, just two weeks after telling Dallas Voice that the policy wasn’t under review. The announcement coincided with their decision to meet with Tyrrell.

“I expect the Boy Scouts to stand behind their arcane policy until it changes, and we’ll be here until it changes,” Tyrrell said.

She said the petition remains open. In the past 24 hours, 2,000 signatures have been added. And she said she’d be back at Boy Scout headquarters to deliver more signatures as the petition grows.

More photos and video below.

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