OH Boy Scouts Board Member Quits After Lesbian Mom Is Ousted

David J. Sims, a board member on the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has announced his resignation in solidarity with Jennifer Tyrrell (right, with family), the Ohio mom who was terminated as a troop leader because she’s a lesbian.

In a letter to council leader Bob Drury, obtained by GLAAD, Sims said the BSA’s treatment of Tyrrell “goes against my fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human beings.”

Dear Bob:

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I write to you today to inform you that I am resigning as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ohio River Valley Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Yesterday, after receiving the email from Paul Tucker, I first learned the story of Jennifer Tyrrell, the den leader for Pack 109’s Tiger Scouts in Bridgeport, Ohio, who was removed as leader solely due to her sexual orientation. I understand that this action was taken as a result of a standing policy of the Boy Scouts of America and that said action is legal. However, Ms. Tyrrell’s removal goes against my fundamental beliefs of how we should treat our fellow human beings and is, in my opinion, wholly discriminatory. I understand that the Boys Scouts of America is free to run its organization as it sees fit, however, I can not formally be a part of it based upon this policy.

My grandfather was an Eagle scout, my father was an Eagle scout and I am an Eagle Scout. Other than his family and his Christian faith, the most important thing in my father’s life was the Boy Scouts. The lived and breathed scouting. That is what makes this decision so exceedingly difficult and emotional. However, I know that my father would support my decision.

Best wishes to you, Ohio River Valley Council and the Boy Scouts of America in future endeavors. I hope that the powers that be will look into their hearts and find the wisdom and courage to re-examine the policies of the Boy Scouts of America.

Sincerely yours,

David J. Sims

We don’t know if Sims has children, but if he does he’s teaching them a lesson they’d never get in the Scouts. Is there a merit badge for integrity?


Best, Rich

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  • RS

    This from the Canadian Boy Scouts policy…

    In keeping with our fundamental principles – Duty to God, Duty to Others, Duty to Self – Scouts Canada is committed to social justice including the promotion of gender and member diversity at all levels of the organization, both in its structures and programs and to the elimination of discrimination on the groups of race, gender, ethnicity, financial ability, sexual orientation, religion, disability or age.
    It is imperative that all programs and services reflect Scouts Canada’s commitment to social justice.

    Just sayin’

  • cam

    Since the boyscouts bigoted policies have gotten them removed from many public schools the majority of their support here in the U.S. are from the Mormon and Catholic churches.

    They can claim not to be bigoted, but isn’t it funny that when the boyscouts became much more Mormon as an overall percentage of their membership just how hard they dug in their heels on anti-gay issues.

  • NovaNardis

    I swear I don’t understand where this whole “Boy Scouts = Mormon” meme came from. Because I’m pretty sure it was just made up whole cloth.

    Just sayin’.

  • Brand

    David J. Sims is a role model for Boy Scouts everywhere. When you see discrimination and there’s nothing you can do within the organization to work toward change, it is your responsibility to publicly disassociate yourself with not only the discrimination but the organization that practices it, and let people know that this discrimination is the reason they are losing support. Otherwise you are enabling, abetting the discrimination and are part of the problem. Rather than pretending that the Boy Scouts of today are raising young people to have honor and bravery and respect and integrity, it is important to acknowledge that the organization is actually raising them to be discriminatory and bigoted and coldhearted and prejudiced. I’m surprised and heartened to learn that the Canadian Boy Scouts policy has moved beyond this.

    And yes, scouting is frequently associated with churches, who often donate space to hold meetings. I was briefly in a Cub Scout troop that was being run in a Presbyterian church basement. Stunningly, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. has evolved faster than the Boy Scouts of America. While the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. now welcomes gay congregants, officiates at gay weddings in states where gay marriage is legal, and even ordains gay clergy in sexually active committed relationships, the Boy Scouts of America are still kicking out caring and capable leaders for no reason but their sexuality.

    Actually, maybe that’s not so stunning after all. Christ’s message was always love and acceptance, and that people who wanted to come into the fold should be welcomed. America has always been a bargain with the devil of wealthy conservatism, from the southern slave owners at our founding through to today’s Republicans working virulently against the first black president since the day of his inauguration and vowing openly to overturn pro-gay rights legislation that has passed and to establish a U.S. Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Republicans are Boy Scouts all grown up with the indoctrinated bigotry and all grown out of the efforts to do anybody any good, and retaining the idea of solidarity to the other boys in your club, though at the expense of all others. Which may be aligned with the prejudiced principles of scouting as reinforced by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision, but it’s surely not aligned with the principles of equality found in the founding documents of this nation.

  • GayGOP

    @NovaNardis: It’s not whole cloth. The Boy Scouts and the Mormons have had a special relationship since the founding of the BSA. It fits well with Mormon views of the world, that one should be healthy, and morally “straight” to be righteous.

  • cam

    @NovaNardis: Actually the percentage of Boy Scout Troops that are from Mormon Wards is incredibly high. They make up a gigantic percentage of the boyscouts.

    As far as I know, Unless parents opt out, all boys who are members of the LDS church between the ages of eight and eighteen are Boy Scouts. It is part of the church’s youth program.

  • jilly

    As a proud female Scouts Canada alumnus, I salute this man’s commitment to the principles that SHOULD be guiding the Scouts and human kind in general. His letter was very moving and the more people who read it, the more people will learn about what true leadership looks like. I hope he will be welcomed to volunteer his time at other youth organisations because frankly we need more people like him passing on his wisdom to kids.

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