A Cub Scout Den mother in Ohio was removed from her post last week after officials discovered that she is a lesbian, according to care2.com.
The dismissal of Jennifer Tyrrell, adds substance to old adage that "no good deed goes unpunished," as she initially took the reins because no on else volunteered to do so.
“The current leader, that was supposed to be there, called and said, ‘I can’t do it’. They had no leader. There were no other people willing or able to step up, so, I stepped up, I said, ‘I’ll be the den leader’,” Tyrrell told WTRF.com.
Nonetheless, after a year of successfully leading the troop, the boy scout Ohio River Valley Council asked her to leave upon learning of her sexual orientation.
“I feel like I’ve had a great year, I’ve bonded with my parents, my children, we’ve done a lot of really good things. And in light of other circumstances, it was brought to the council’s attention at a higher-up level that I was gay and I was forced to resign,” Tyrrell said.
In response, Bob Drury, Scout Director with the Council had the following to say:
“It’s just something that has been determined to be a distraction to what the program is. The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to develop character and leadership skills and the youth of today to become the leaders of tomorrow. And anything that distracts from that mission distracts from what our program is.”
As a result of Tyrrell's dismissal, scout parents lead a protest on April 17 right outside of the meeting where Drury ultimately announced the decision.
Robb Donn, one of the parents in support of Tyrrell, said “[i]t was never an issue because we judge people by their actions and she’s done a really good job with the kids, a lot better than the leaders in the past, and it has nothing to do with her sexuality at all.”
Tyrrell was fearful that the the boys in her den thought she was abandoning them because they did not understand the council's decision.
In 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, held that the Boy Scouts could dismiss an openly homosexual gay scout troop leader because applying a NJ anti-discriminatory public accommodations law to the Boy Scouts violated the organizations First Amendment right of expressive association.
The Supreme Court determined that had the private organization been forced to retain Dale it would effectively compel the organization to send the message that it condones homosexual behavior, which is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be 'morally straight' and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed.”
A 2010 legal challenge in Philadelphia of same ban confirmed the Supreme Court's decision that the private organization was within its First Amendment rights to exclude people on the basis of sexual orientation. In March, the city was ordered to pay nearly $900,000 in legal fees.
Similarly, in 2011, a Virginia lesbian mom Denise Steele was dismissed from her troop.
“The Boy Scouts of America is one of the only cultural institutions to categorically discriminate against LGBT Americans, ” said Gladd President Herndon Graddick.
Although, the local Ohio chapter of the Boy Scouts looks to have acted within its First Amendment rights, this decision is a curious one as it seems to have done more harm than good, as a formerly happy troop is now mired in controversy and without a den leader.
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