A Field Guide to the Activists Protesting This Week's Vote on the Gay Boy Scout Ban

Categories: News

We forgot to include Aggie fans.
The Boy Scouts of America's National Council meets this week at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, and it's scheduled to decide on Thursday whether to lift its long-standing policy banning gay scouts. (The ban on gay leaders is staying in place for now, but the organization's leadership, as well as a lot of big-money sponsors, have expressed support for the change.)

Also descending on Grapevine this week is a mass of protesters who will demonstrate on both sides of the issue. To help you keep track of who's who, we've compiled this brief field guide of who's planning to show up.

Jennifer Tyrell: Tyrell was by all accounts a competent den leader for her 7-year-old son's Tiger Cub pack in Bridgeport, Ohio. But word got out that she was a lesbian and she was booted from her post. She's been on the warpath ever since, delivering a boxful of petition signatures to the Boy Scouts' Irving headquarters back in January. She'll be pushing the group to end the ban on gay adults.

Scouts for Equality: Zach Wahls isn't gay, but his two moms are. He was conceived via artificial insemination 22 years ago and grew up to become an Eagle Scout. Then, a year after his testimony in the Iowa House Judiciary Committee made him Internet famous, he founded Scouts for Equality. He's since become one of the most prominent figures in the push for inclusion.

Dave McGrath & Son: McGrath, a former scout with a gay twin brother, decided to ride his bike from Idaho to Texas in support of the proposed change. USA Today even did a video:

On My Honor: John Stemberger is the anti-Zach Wahls. He, too, is an Eagle Scout and he, too, was inspired to activism by the scout's policy on gays. But the Florida lawyer and his organization, On My Honor, argue for keeping the ban. The group has compiled a top 10 list of the reasons the Boy Scouts should keep the gay ban, suggesting that doing otherwise "will inevitably create an increase of boy-on-boy sexual contact" and "utterly devastate the program financially, socially and legally." Sterberger has separately predicted "a wave of boy-on-boy sexual abuse" as straight kids are "preyed on" by their gay peers.

Texas Values: This is the group that helped get several dozen of the state's top elected officials to sign an open letter accusing the Scouts' leadership of "[c]apitulating to the liberal social agenda." Elsewhere, it has said the proposed change will destroy an organization that "has been instrumental in building the character of tens of millions of boys in our country."
It formed the group Save Our Scouts earlier this year to lobby for keeping the gay ban. On a non-scouting note, the organization would also like to re-criminalize sodomy.

Texas Pastors Council: One of the more virulent religious right groups in Texas, TPC executive director Dave Welch has compared Obama to Hitler, called lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker "a sodomite" and questioned whether Muslims can really be loyal Americans. The group teamed with Texas Values earlier this year on Save Our Scouts

Family Research Council: This group has been circulating an online petition, currently a bit more than 30,000 signatures strong, that says a yes vote this week is "fraught with danger and sends the message that homosexuality is morally straight." The group's president, Tony Perkins, has also cited sexual abuse and pedophilia as a reason for keeping gays out of scouting.

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Yo See, in muh mofo line o' werk you gots ta keep repeating things ova an' ova an' ova ag'in fo' da truf ta sink in, ta kind o' catapult da propaganda

Jacob Brinlee
Jacob Brinlee

Esteban, it's because the Boy Scouts get a lot of help from our tax dollars. They can't seclude good people and take their money at the same time. Plus, isn't it about time.

Daisy Martinez
Daisy Martinez

Don't throw all Aggies into one category. Some (many) of us support lifting the ban. Thanks, and gig 'em.

Esteban Mainzer
Esteban Mainzer

why can't gays just be "tolerant" of the boy scouts and move the f*ck on down the street to the next "crisis"?


The Texas Pastors Council reminds me of a quote I like to cite:   "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike Your Christ" - Mahatma Ghandi

I was a Boy Scout 40 years ago. I am an Eagle Scout. We had at least one gay scout in our troop forty years ago. He were just like everyone else, and a damned fine Boy Scout.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

To the Texas Pastors Council, I simply refer them to Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.".  That is what God requires, is that what you are doing?  To those who claim inclusion will result in a rise in pedophilia, I ask, how many pedophiles identify as Gay or Lesbian?  Pedophilia has nothing to do with sexual orientation, pedophiles are sick, disgusting creatures that need to be exterminated.  Gays, on the other hand, seem to be just people, albeit with a more elevated sense of style and culture than I possess. 

If comparing the President to Hitler makes one virulent, I guess that would put the Unfair Park blog, many of its commenters and writers and a host of other liberal organizations virulent as well.  Careful Nicholson, the brush with which you paint is a tricky one indeed.

Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

What a ironic place to hold thier meeting...the Gaylord.


Check out an updated, in-depth examination of the issues at youthallies (dot) com


@RTGolden1 You know who else thought gays "seemed just to be people"? Hitler's hairstylist!


@bvckvs Sounds like the requirements for our legislators at both the state and federal levels.

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