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February 6th, 2013
10:33 AM ET

'When there is equality, there is progress' – Fmr. den mother Jennifer Tyrrell emotional, nervous for Boy Scouts gay vote

The Boy Scouts of America was expected to consider a very major change in their policy towards gays. After "Starting Point" went off the air, the Scouts announced they would put off the decision to lift their national ban on gay scouts and gay leaders until May. If it does happen, local troops would then be able to decide on their own whether or not they'd accept gays.

Jennifer Tyrrell, former Cub Scout den leader in Ohio, says the organization dismissed her for being a lesbian. On Monday she led a group to the Boy Scout's headquarters near Dallas. They dropped off a petition to end the ban on gays which they say had 1.4 million signatures on it.

This morning, Tyrrell talks with Soledad on "Starting Point" about the fight for equality in the Boy Scouts.

Tyrrell explains how it was her 7-year-old son who got her involved with the organization.

"I didn't want to even join the Boy Scouts and he wanted to, he was so excited, it was so hard to tell him no, he doesn't understand that people are discriminatory," she says. "I never had a problem until they asked me to be treasurer. I found a lot of mistakes, I started asking a lot of questions and then that day that I was supposed to have a meeting to say where is this money, is the day that I received the phone call saying, oh by the way, you're gay, you can't be here anymore."

Tyrrell says her son has had to bear the brunt of the situation.

"He misses his friends. He still sees his friends at school but scouting - it's special. We loved it. And I was the last person that expected to love it, to be completely honest. But I saw a change in him. I saw him come out of his shell. I saw - he just became a better person and so did I. If this ban is lifted, it will be a great first step but it's going to still lead to kids being rejected, families are still going to be turned away, and I've been contacted by so many families, gay scouts that are terrified that somebody's going to find out," she says.

Filed under: Boy Scouts • Gay rights
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Rob from Minnesota

    Nothing against her, but she shouldn't be asked to lead boys. Where are the dads out there? Women should not be raising men. That is the problem in this country today.

    February 9, 2013 at 6:05 am | Report abuse | Reply

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