Julian: In Texas, four big boxes of printed petition comments were delivered to Boy Scout headquarters demanding the Boy Scouts allow gay members and leaders. In Maryland, one troop posted a message on its website saying it would not discriminate based on sexual orientation.
Meyerdirk: We just want to stand up and keep the momentum going so that they do the right thing here and change their membership policy.
Jennifer Tyrrell: We love scouting and we just want to be a part of it.
Julian: Jennifer Tyrrell of Ohio was kicked out as leader of her son’s troop because she is gay.
Jennifer: Even though my scout parents loved me and they constantly thanked me for all the hard work I did, I was still removed based on this archaic policy that just needs to be changed.
Julian: People like Jennifer are hoping the scouting National Executive Board will vote today to change its national policy and will allow openly gay scouts and gay scout leaders to join.
More than a million people have now signed petitions protesting the scouts’ anti-gay policy. And corporate sponsors like Merk and UPS have stopped supporting the organization. Even the president has weighed in on the debate.
President Obama: My attitude is, is that gays and lesbians should have access and opportunity the same way everybody else does. The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to opportunities and leadership. And I think that nobody should be barred for that.
Julian: The 100-year-old group that prides itself for teaching boys life skills, like camping and leadership, has stood by its policy for years. And if the policy is changed today, the decision to admit gay members would be up to Boy Scout troops on the local level. Not everyone welcomes the change.
Governor Rick Perry: I think most people see absolutely no reason to change their position. And neither do I.
Julian: Texas Governor Rick Perry, an Eagle Scout himself, is against lifting the ban. He says the group should remain loyal to its values and not give in to pressure.
Governor Perry: Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons. Sexuality is not one of them – it never has been. It doesn’t need to be.
Julian: When the ban on gays was challenged in the past, the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court, sided with the Boy Scouts.
Evan Wolfson: A lot has changed in America since that ruling in 2000. The military used to discriminate against gay people serving our country. The military no longer discriminates. Americans didn’t understand why gay people needed the freedom to marry. Now nine states plus the District of Columbia have gay couples sharing in the freedom to marry.
Julian: Julian Dujarric, Channel One News.
- What is the current position of the Boy Scouts on gay members and leaders?
- What change is the organization considering?
- Why have several corporate sponsors stopped supporting the organization?
- How did the Supreme Court rule on the organization’s policy?
- What is President Obama’s position on this issue?
- Do you think the Boy Scouts of America should change its policy?