ORLANDO, Fla. - Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout who last year saw his online video in support of his two gay moms go viral, will deliver more than 275,000 petition signatures to the Boy Scouts of America during their National Annual Meeting. Wahls will deliver comments in support of a lesbian mom in Ohio who was ousted as leader of her son’s Cub Scout troop and will urge the Boy Scouts to end their long-held policy banning gay scouts and gay scout leaders.

Jennifer Tyrrell started her petition on Change.org after being told on April 10 that she could no longer serve as den leader for her 7-year-old son’s Cub Scout troop because of her sexual orientation. Since then, more than 275,000 people – including Wahls and thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts – have signed her petition, urging the Boy Scouts of America to reinstate her and to end their policy banning gay youth and leaders from serving.

“On behalf of the thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts who’ve signed the petition in support of Jennifer, we’re hoping that the Boy Scouts of America will take this moment to end its policy of discrimination against gay Americans,” said Wahls. “It is both disappointing and discouraging that the Boy Scouts continue to fixate on the identity of adult leaders instead of the content of their characters. In the Boy Scouts, I learned valuable lessons about bravery, respect, and not passing judgement on others. If only the Boy Scouts would practice what they preach and end this discriminatory policy against families, youth and leaders.”

Tyrrell’s petition has also garnered support from scores of celebrities, including Josh Hutcherson, Benicio Del Toro, Julianne Moore, Fran Drescher, Ricky Martin, Kelly Osbourne, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and more.

Tyrrell said that she was honored to have the support of Wahls and scores of scouts and scout leaders just like him.

“I feel so lucky to have the support of thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts. These are people who know firsthand how valuable scouting can be, but also know how damaging the policy prohibiting gay youth and gay leaders can be for troops and communities,” said Tyrrell. “I remain extremely hopeful that this network of current and former scouts and scout leaders can create the type of change within the Boy Scouts organization, and that soon we will see a Boy Scouts that truly values tolerance, diversity, and respect within its membership.” 

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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