Veteran actor and former Boy Scout George Takei came out in support of ousted scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell on his blog Wednesday, one day after the Boy Scouts of America said its ban on gays and lesbians will continue.
I was a member of Troop 379 and treasure my memories of being part of that institution, wrote the Star Trek icon, who came out publicly in 2005. But an ugly blemish remains on the BSA which I and others are determined to see removed.
Tyrrell, an Ohio den mother who was forced to resign from her son's troupe because she is gay, delivered a petition of more than 300,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts' headquarters in Dallas on Wednesday. Dressed in her scout uniform, Tyrrell -- along with her partner, Alicia Burns, and their 7-year-old son, Cruz -- met briefly with scout representatives to deliver the signatures and ask again that its outdated policy of excluding gays be lifted.
On his blog post, Takei noted that many well-meaning people counter that the BSA is a private organization, and as such should be able to keep whomever they want out. This is of course the same justification used to prevent minorities from eating in restaurants during the Jim Crow years.
Rich Ferraro, vice president of communications for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), alerted the International Business Times of Takei's post in a phone interview about the Boy Scouts' longstanding policy, which has been compared to the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
In a previous statement, Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said that the organization does not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals, or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission.
After a supposed two-year review of that policy, the Boy Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, said in a statement Tuesday that he believes it still has broad-based support among parents.
The Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts' policy in 2000. Takei, meanwhile, vowed that the fight is not over, and that he would continue to support Tyrrell and GLAAD in their efforts to overturn the ban in the court of public opinion.
Then he shared the blog with his more than 2.2 million Facebook fans.