My name is Jennifer Tyrrell. I am a devoted partner, mother, friend and community leader in Bridgeport, Ohio. I’m also a former Tiger Cub den leader with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). I was recently removed from this volunteer position, and my membership was revoked after nearly a year of service – just because I happen to be gay.
Shortly after registering my son for Cub Scouts, I was asked to assume the role of den leader and was persuaded by a platform of tolerance, acceptance and support. Throughout the year, my cubs performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, and, at the time of my removal, were working on a conservation project for a state park. My Tiger Cubs earned multiple Scout badges for service and skills, while learning and exercising the 12 Core Values of Scouting: citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health & fitness, honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect, and responsibility.
The revocation of my membership came shortly after I was elected treasurer of my pack and uncovered some inconsistencies in the pack's finances. Within a week of reporting these findings to the council, I received notice that my membership had been revoked, based on my sexual orientation, citing that because I'm gay, I did "not meet the high standards of membership that the BSA seeks."
There was an outcry of support for me by the parents of my Tiger Scouts, many of whom waited for hours to voice their concerns to members of the council and the pack's charter organization, but were turned away without the opportunity to do so.
It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy of exclusivity against gay youth and leaders. Please sign this petition to call for an end of discrimination in an organization that is shaping the future.
As more individuals become aware of the discrimination I’ve been dealing with, it is my hope that these incidents will happen less frequently -- if at all.
Please join me and take a stand. If you would also like to support my work to end the Boy Scouts' policy barring gay scouts and gay scout leaders, you can do so here:
Recently, a cub scout den leader from Bridgeport, Ohio named Jennifer Tyrrell was removed from her post after regional Scout leadership found out she's gay. Local leaders, parents and scouts knew about her sexual orientation, and didn't care. In fact, they were upset that she was removed, because her cubs had excelled under her leadership.
Jennifer's cubs performed volunteer service at a local soup kitchen, collected canned goods for area churches to distribute in food baskets, participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, and were working on a conservation project for a state park. Her Tiger Cubs earned multiple Scout badges for service and skills, while learning and exercising the 12 Core Values of Scouting: citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health & fitness, honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect, and responsibility.
It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its policy of exclusivity against gay youth and leaders. Please reinstate Jennifer's post in the Boy Scouts of America, and end the discrimination in your organization -- an organization that is responsible for shaping the future of young men across the country.
','2013-05-06 20:11:23','2013-05-06 20:11:23'),(117365,336220,'I just signed the following petition addressed to British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Implement paragraph 20 Weston Park Accord. Release Gerry McGeough.
We call for full implementation of paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord (2001) and for the immediate release of Gerry McGeough.
The Good Friday Agreement was signed on 10th April 1998. The associated Weston Park Accord was signed on 1st August 2001. This is an international agreement between the Irish and British governments. Both governments agreed to implement paragraph 20 before the end of 2001. Paragraph 20 states that:
"supporters of organisations now on cease-fire against whom there are outstanding proceedings, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for offences committed before 10th April 1998 would if convicted, stand to benefit from the early release scheme. The Governments accept that it would be a natural development of the scheme for such prosecutions not to be pursued and will as soon as possible, and in any event before the end of the year, take such steps as are necessary in their jurisdictions to resolve this difficulty so that those concerned are no longer pursued".
Unfortunately, the legislation required to implement paragraph 20 was never passed in Westminster. The failure of the British government to act in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement forced the withdrawal of this legislation on 11th January 2006 by then Secretary of State Peter Hain.
Non-implementation of paragraph 20 led directly to the arrest of Gerry McGeough on 8th March 2007. He was subsequently charged and sentenced in a Diplock Court with alleged offences dating back 31 years to June 1981. Gerry has now been incarcerated in Maghaberry prison since 18th February 2011. He is the only Irish Republican to have been charged with alleged offences committed prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.