Jennifer Tyrrell, a Cub Scout den mother in Ohio, was dismissed from her position last week after local Boy Scout officials learned she is a lesbian.
Tyrrell told WTRF.com that she was drafted in to help with the Brookside troop:
“The current leader, that was supposed to be there, called and said, ‘I can’t do it’. They had no leader. There were no other people willing or able to step up, so, I stepped up, I said, ‘I’ll be the den leader’.”
But after a year of ‘stepping up,’ the boy scout Ohio River Valley Council found out her sexuality and she was asked to leave.
“I feel like I’ve had a great year, I’ve bonded with my parents, my children, we’ve done a lot of really good things. And in light of other circumstances, it was brought to the council’s attention at a higher-up level that I was gay and I was forced to resign,” Tyrrell said.
Bob Drury, Scout Director with the Council said:
“It’s just something that has been determined to be a distraction to what the program is. The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to develop character and leadership skills and the youth of today to become the leaders of tomorrow. And anything that distracts from that mission distracts from what our program is.”
Tyrrell’s many friends among the scouts’ parents held a protest April 17 outside the meeting where Drury announced the decision.
Said one parent, Rob Donn:
“It was never an issue because we judge people by their actions and she’s done a really good job with the kids, a lot better than the leaders in the past, and it has nothing to do with her sexuality at all.”
Tyrell said that the boy scouts didn’t understand the council’s decision and she’s worried they may think that she is abandoning them.
The Boy Scouts of America has adopted positions since 1991 which state that homosexuality is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed.”
A 2010 legal challenge in Philadelphia of the gay ban confirmed that the private organization was within its rights to exclude people on the basis of sexual orientation. Last month, the city was ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in legal fees.
Last year, Virginia lesbian mom Denise Steele was kicked out of her troop.
“The Boy Scouts of America is one of the only cultural institutions to categorically discriminate against LGBT Americans.”
“Sending the message to America’s youth that they or their parents are somehow less than everyone else is dangerous, inaccurate and should be changed immediately.”
Image: courtesy GLAAD