Jim Turley

Jim Turley

Sharing his story with Businessweek, Ernst & Young’ CEO Jim Turley talks about why he finally decided to speak out against the Boy Scouts’ ban against gay Scouts and leaders.

Although he didn’t want to be a spokesman for the BSA, when former Ohio den mother Jen Tyrrell was ousted from her position last year, Turley said he joined forces with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson to oppose the ban.

“I don’t think it will lead the Scouts to be as robust and successful for the youth of the country as it can be,” he said. “It’s not a policy I subscribe to. It’s something we know we need to wrestle with.”

Both companies have a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and Turley said he worried the association with the BSA would harm his company, which values diversity.

News of Randall and Turley’s urge for the National Executive Board to change the policy in February led to a media firestorm and a delay until the National Council could vote in May.

Turley said the compromise that will be voted on May 22 to allow only gay youth was a “substantial and significant change,” even though he wished “we’d gone further this time.”

“I’m hopeful and optimistic that some change will take place,” he said. “I do not think that this should or will be the end of the debate.”