Gay Scout leader vows to continue fight, Boy Scouts say policy remains

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by CYNTHIA VEGA

WFAA

Posted on July 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 18 at 1:15 PM

IRVING - Wednesday was a disappointing day for an Ohio mom who traveled to the Boy Scouts of America's Irving headquarters hoping to be reinstated as a Cub Scout pack leader.

Jennifer Tyrrell, 32, said she was forced out for being gay, and was hoping her face-to-face meeting with the Boy Scouts would lead to a change in its policy.

Tyrrell and her partner, Alicia, met with higher ups at BSA headquarters for about 30 minutes. Tyrrell said the BSA  told her their decision was "not personal" and that she "has a lovely family."

However, Tyrrell says the BSA is standing by its 11-member committee's decision to exclude gays from becoming Scouts or Boy Scout leaders.

The BSA said the committee spent two years researching the matter and parents support the final decision to maintain current policy.

Tyrrell, who flew from Ohio with her partner and two sons, presented 318,000 signatures of support to the BSA. She said many signatures and e-mails are from Scout leaders and Eagle Scouts nationwide, who support her reinstatement and her request to allow gays to become Scouts. Tyrrell said its a matter of civil rights and equality.

Tyrrell told members of the media she is disappointed by Wednesday's outcome, but she is not defeated. She said she told the BSA she is "not going away" and that she will continue her crusade to create a change in BSA policy.

Tyrrell said she was ousted from her volunteer position as her son's Cub Scout pack back in April because she was gay. She said she had grown to appreciate the organization for all it stands for and for the many opportunities it affords children.

However, she has since removed her son, seven-year-old Cruz, from being involved in the Scouts because she said the organization does not support equality.

Several protesters stood outside the BSA headquarters in Irving in direct opposition to Tyrrell's request.

One protester, a pastor from a Baptist church in Mansfield, said allowing a gay woman to lead children goes against the teachings of the Bible. Joey Faust told News 8 it is a confusing message to send to children, and he's against it.

Police officers kept a close eye on the protesters, who remained peaceful.

E-mail cvega@wfaa.com

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