Petitioners Deliver 1.4 Million Signatures to Boy Scouts Headquarters - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Petitioners Deliver 1.4 Million Signatures to Boy Scouts Headquarters

Gay scouts, leaders, and supporters gathered in Irving Monday



    The Boy Scouts of America received more than 1.4 million signatures Monday at its national headquarters in Irving asking for the organization to accept gay members. (Published Monday, Feb. 4, 2013)

    Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay mother whose son is a Boy Scout, led a group of petitioners in a press conference in front of the Boy Scouts of America's National Headquarters in Irving Monday.

    "Children's psyche are involved here. When you tell a child they're not good enough, when you tell a child their parent's not good enough, it takes a toll on that child. And so, it's not OK anymore," Tyrrell said.

    The group arrived in North Texas from various states and they shared their personal stories in hopes of helping to bring about change.

    "The council asked me to resign immediately. After many years of dedicated volunteer service to my troop, the Lincoln Heritage Council, and the Boy Scouts of America, I was cast aside thoughtlessly and it crushed me," said Greg Bourke, a gay former Scoutmaster.

    Eric Andresen, a father of a gay Scout, said his family has been through a lot since his son decided to come out of the closet.

    "It hurts so much to watch Ryan go through what he's had to suffer just for being who he is," Andresen said.

    Gay Eagle Scout Will Oliver said it's been difficult to be involved in the organization without being able to truly be himself.

    "I asked the leaders of this organization to imagine the alienation of waking up each morning, a child, knowing that today against every fiber of your being, you must lie to yourself and to your friends in scouting," he said.

    The group of petitioners waited over an hour before one person was allowed inside of the building, with an escort, to deliver the boxes.

    "While she accepted my petition, our petition, she wouldn't look me in the eye. I asked, 'Would you like to meet with me?' and she said, 'No. I won't meet with you,'" said Tyrrell.

    Tyrrell said she had previously spoken with a Boy Scouts representative in the past and has been trying to reach out to him again without success. She hoped the messages they delivered won't fall on deaf ears.

    The Boy Scouts of America declined to comment on receiving the petitions, but its National Executive Board is expected to make a decision on whether or not to lift the ban later this week.