Jennifer Tyrrell, former Cub Scout Den Mom, and Will Oliver, Eagle Scout, address the media after delivering boxes containing 1.4 million signatures urging the Boy Scouts of America to reverse the organization's ban on LGBT Scouts on February 4, 2013 in Irving, Texas. Credit: Getty Images
The battle over the Boy Scouts of America ban on gay members and leaders forges on, with both sides of the debate digging in their heels. Last week, news broke and TheBlaze subsequently confirmed that the organization is considering lifting its controversial restriction. Following this development, Scouts and their families have delivered a petition to the organization's headquarters, urging an end to a policy that has kept gay scouts and leaders from officially participating in the organization.
They say the petition delivered Monday in Irving, Texas, includes 1.4 million signatures. Scouting leaders are expected to consider ending the ban during a three-day meeting this week, so that timing of the petition if pertinent. This latest effort, which adds to the case that gays should be allowed into the group, will likely rile conservative members who are closely eyeing which side the Scout's national board aligns with.
Jennifer Tyrrell was among the dozen people who delivered the petition. Tyrrell says she was forced out as leader of her son's Cub Scout pack because she's gay, and she doesn't want to see any other parents treated in the same way. She says the policy is "archaic" and needs to change.
Last Monday, the Scouts issued a response to TheBlaze surrounding the controversial policy. The organization admitted that the regulation is under review and explained the rationale behind potentially abandoning it, essentially claiming that an end to it would allow local groups to have more control over membership rules.
"Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation," the statement read. "This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs."
(L-R) Eric Andresen, former Scout leader, Will Oliver, Eagle Scout, Jennifer Tyrrell, former Cub Scout Den Mother, and Greg Bourke, former Assistant Scoutmaster, deliver boxes containing 1.4 million signatures urging the Boy Scouts of America to reverse the organization's ban on LGBT Scouts on February 4, 2013 in Irving, Texas. The BSA national council announced they were considering to leave the decision of inclusion of gays to the local unit level. U.S. President Barack Obama urged the organization to end a ban on gays. Credit: Getty Images
The national Boy Scouts organization said that it would not mandate a method of handling the issue from the top, thus leaving local groups the flexibility to accept or reject gay members and leaders.
The families who delivered today's petition were waiting for a representative of Boy Scouts of America to come and accept their petition at the time that this article was written.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.