Boy Scouts Board Member Says 'End Gay Ban'

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A prominent board member of the Boys Scouts of America is calling for an end to the group's ban on gay scouts.

James Turley, CEO of Ernst & Young and member of the Boy Scouts of America's National Board, said he will work from within to change the ban on gay troops and leaders.

Turley announced his decision after a lesbian den mother, Jennifer Tyrell of Bridgeport, Conn., was allegedly ousted from her 7 year old son's Cub Scout troop. Tyrell then rallied thousands to call for an end to the Scouts' anti-gay policy.

In a statement issued by Ernst and Young, Turley said that he will work from within the Boy Scouts as a national board member to help change their policies.

"Ernst & Young is proud to have such a strong record in LBTG inclusiveness. As CEO, I know that having an inclusive culture produces the best results, is the right thing to do for our people, and makes us a better organization," Turley said.

"My experience had led me to believe that an inclusive environment is important throughout our society, and I am proud to be a leader on this issue," he continued. "I support the meaningful work of the Boys Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning, and service."

"However, the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse," he added. "As I have done in leading Ernst & Young to being a most inclusive organization, I intend to continue to work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress."

Tyrell started a petition on Change.org after she was kicked out. She called for an end to the Scout's anti-gay policy and called on national scouts board members to speak out in favor of equality.

"When the Boy Scouts kicked me out for being gay, I felt so excluded, like I was nothing, and like I was disappointing my 7-year old son and his entire pack of Cub Scouts," Tyrell said.

"But the overwhelming support I've received from thousands of scouts and scout leaders, as well as hundreds of thousands of people from around the country, has meant the world to me," she said. "We are at a tipping point, with national leaders within the Boys Scouts now taking a firm stand to help end discrimination."

Tyrell and others are now calling on another prominent Boys Scouts board member, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, to join Turley in speaking out against the Scouts anti-gay policy.

"As the CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson is already doing a lot for the gay community. His company provides non-discrimination protections, healthcare benefits for same-sex partners, and much more for gay employees," Tyrell said.

"The last thing AT&T wants is to undermine its excellent reputation for supporting LGBT people by failing to support a resolution that would bring equality to the Boys Scouts of America," he added.

Thousands of scouts and scouts leaders have joined in Tyrell's call for an end to the Boy Scouts' ban on gay troops and leaders.

Boy Scout officials had already announced they would examine a resolution that would reverse the policy.

Scout leaders, however, say they don't expect the resolution to pass. If struck down, Tyrell and other supporters say they're prepared to take legal action.

The Scouts, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010, have had a long-standing policy promoting traditional, value-based leadership.

Controversy over the policy intensified in 2000 when the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Scouts to maintain the policy in the face of a legal challenge.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.