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Ousted Boy Scouts leader won?tgive up gay rights fight

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IRVING, Texas?Booted from being a
den leader three months ago, a
lesbian mother on Wednesday
brought her fight to the Boy Scouts of
America's backyard. Flanked by her partner and two
young sons, Jennifer Tyrrell of Ohio
delivered a massive petition to the
youth organization's national
headquarters. More than 300,000
signatures she collected call for the group to reinstate her and end its
controversial policy prohibiting gay
Scouts and troop leaders. "It's insane and needs to change,"
said Tyrrell, who at times became
tearful. "It's sad." The Boy Scouts welcomed Tyrrell into
their Texas offices but gave her no
answers as to why a secret committee
recently decided to reaffirm the organization's long-standing rule of
excluding gays. "I don't know how this 11-member
committee can decide that 300,000
Americans don't matter, that their
opinions don't matter," Tyrrell said
after her 15-minute meeting with a
Scouts spokesman and another unidentified official. While it wasn't forthcoming, the 32-
year-old said the conversation was
civil. "I did a lot of talking, I did a lot of
crying," she said. "I'm not here to
bash the Scouts. I'm not here to say
anything negative necessarily. I just
can't tell you the heartbreak that I felt
when I got the phone call telling me that I wasn't good enough ... because
I'm gay." [Related: Scouts, parents mixed on gay-member policy] Tyrrell launched her petition on
Change.org after being notified in April that she could no longer be the
den mother for her 7-year-old's Scout
pack in Bridgeport, Ohio. Her online
campaign includes signatures from
numerous celebrities and thousands
of Scouts, Scout leaders and former Scouts. The site received 2,000 new
signatures in the last 24 hours, and
Tyrrell said her fight won't stop with
Wednesday's visit to the
headquarters. "I told them we weren't going
anywhere," she said. Tyrrell had volunteered for nearly a
year, leading her troop to earn
multiple Scout badges for their service
and skills. She and her son Cruz wore
their Boy Scouts gear on Wednesday,
despite the fact that she has pulled him out of the program. "We love the Scouts," said Tyrrell, who
also wore gay-pride colors painted
on her toes. "We love everything the
Scouts stand for. We just don't love
this policy. So let's stop teaching our
kids to discriminate." In a statement on Tuesday, the 102- year-old leadership organization said,
"This policy reflects the beliefs and
perspectives of the BSA's members,
thereby allowing Scouting to remain
focused on its mission and the work it
is doing to serve more youth." "The vast majority of the parents of
youth we serve value their right to
address issues of same-s*x
orientation within their family, with
spiritual advisers, and at the
appropriate time and in the right setting," said Bob Mazzuca, BSA's chief
scout executive. Tyrrell's visit drew three protesters
from a local church. They waved "Fear
God" signs and shouted about
morality as she spoke to reporters. "I think God has been pretty good to
us, and we have a great family,"
Tyrrell said. "Everyone is entitled to
their beliefs."
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