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Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout urge local Boy Scout councils to reject National Policy banning gay youth and parents

Scoutmaster copy Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout urge local Boy Scout councils to reject National Policy banning gay youth and parents

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Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout urge local Boy Scout councils to reject National Policy banning gay youth and parents

Submitted by Mark Anthony Dingbaum

     ·       Petitions on Change.org call on local Boy Scout councils to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) national anti-gay membership policy at the BSA National Council meeting in Dallas this May;

    ·       100 petitions, acquiring more than 1.6 million signatures, have been launched by Scouts, Scout leaders, and Scouting families on Change.org, urging local Boy Scout councils across the country to help end the ban on gay youth and parents; 

     MIAMI, FL – As Boy Scout councils across the country prepare to vote this May on whether or not the organization will end its national anti-gay membership policy, a local Scoutmaster and Eagle Scout have launched petitions on Change.org calling on the South Florida and Gulfstream Boy Scout Councils to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s national policy banning gay youth and parents.

    Scoutmaster James Happell, a 52-year-old research professor from Palmetto Bay, and Eagle Scout Gus Beaujardin, a 33-year-old assistant manager from Miami, started petitions after the recent high-profile expulsions of gay youth and parents like California Boy Scout Ryan Andresen and Ohio Den Mother Jennifer Tyrrell. As Boy Scout leaders, Happell and Beaujardin think the Boy Scout’s anti-gay membership policy not only hurts Scouting, but also sends a dangerous mes-sage to young people.

    “This issue became personal with me in the summer of 2012 when a young man who I had helped become an Eagle Scout and then an outstanding young assistant scoutmaster had his BSA membership revoked — just because he’s bisexual,” said Scoutmaster James Happell, who launched his petition on Change.org. “This kind of discrimination in the BSA has to stop.”

“The Boy Scouts of America is an incredible institution, but its national anti-gay membership policy undermines all of the great work our council is doing right here at home,” said Eagle Scout Gus Beaujardin, who launched his campaign on Change.org. “I love Scouting, but I can’t support a policy that says gay kids and parents aren’t welcome. And there are many members of our Scouting community who agree.”

     New signatures on Happell and Beaujardin’s petitions are sent via email to South Florida Council Scout Executive John Anthony and Gulfstream Council Scout Executive Jeff Isaac. So far, each petition has collected signatures from more than 400 people, including several current and former Scouts and Scout leaders who have left comments for each council on the petition pages.

    Last month, California-based Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, which had initially rejected 18-year-old Ryan Andresen’s Eagle Scout application because he’s gay, became the first Boy Scout council to publicly urge the Boy Scouts of America to end the national anti-gay policy and adopt a non-discrimination policy at the BSA National Council meeting in May. Ryan’s parents, with the support of GLAAD and Scouts for Equality, launched a petition on Change.org urging their local council to reject the national anti-gay policy and give Ryan his Eagle award.

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, a Boy Scouts of America alumni association of more than 5,000 Eagle Scouts dedicated to ending the BSA’s ban on gay members and leader, says that discrimination goes against Scouting values, and that there’s considerable momentum behind changing the current policy.

    “The American Medical Association, corporate and political leaders, and countless Scouting communities across the country have spoken out against the dangers of policies that exclude gay youth and parents,” said Wahls. “Change is coming, council by council, community by community.”

100 petitions, acquiring more than 1.6 million signatures, have been launched by Scouts, Scout leaders, and Scouting families on Change.org, urging local Boy Scout councils across the country to help end the ban on gay youth and parents.

    Journalists interested in setting up an interview should use the contact details at the top of the page.

    Live signature totals from James Happell’s petition:

https://www.change.org/petitions/south-florida-council-allow-all-to-join-regardless-of-their-sexual-orientation

 Live signature totals from Gus Beaujardin’s petition:

https://www.change.org/petitions/gulfstream-council-reject-the-boy-scouts-of-america-s-anti-gay-policy

List of more than 100 local petitions targeting Boy Scout councils across the country:

http://www.change.org/boyscouts

Journalists interested in contacting local and national Boy Scout leaders should try:

 John Anthony Scout Executive, South Florida Council John.Anthony@scouting.org (954) 584-4200 ext. 212

 Jeff Isaac Scout Executive, Gulfstream Council jeff.isaac@scouting.org (561) 694-8585

 Deron Smith Public Relations, Boy Scouts of America Deron.Smith@scouting.org (972) 580-7848

     For more information on Change.org, please visit:

http://www.change.org/about

Change.org is the world’s largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see. There are more than 30 million users in every country who use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally.

     For more information on Scouts for Equality, please visit:

http://www.scoutsforequality.org

    Since 1991, the Boy Scouts of America has barred openly gay individuals from participating in its program at any level. Scouts for Equality will lead a respectful, honest dialogue with current and former Scouts and Scout Leaders about ending this outdated policy. By embodying the values of the Scout Oath and Law, we believe we can restore the social relevancy of one of this country’s great cultural institutions: the Boy Scouts of America.

 

 

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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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