More than 70k sign petition demanding the BSA rehire Tim Griffin
by James Whitely -
SGN Staff Writer
On Wednesday, August 15, Tim Griffin, a 22-year-old Gay former Eagle Scout, and Alex Hayes, former program director of Camp Winton in California's Eldorado National Forest, delivered more than 70,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts of America's Golden Empire Council in Sacramento, California, urging the council to reinstate Griffin and reject the BSA's policy barring Gay scouts and leaders.
After delivering the petition signatures, Hayes and Griffin were invited to meet directly with Glen Goddard, the council's program director.
'While today's meeting was productive, the delivery of these petitions marks the beginning of this journey, not the end,' said Hayes afterward. 'The 70,000 signatures and the attendance here today speaks for itself. By blindly obeying the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory anti-Gay policy, the Golden Empire Council risks losing some of its most loyal and active members.'
Hayes launched the campaign for signatures on Griffin's behalf on Change.org, an online petition website, after he and nine other Camp Winton employees resigned in protest over Griffin's dismissal. Griffin, who was the camp's longest-serving employee, says he was fired because of his sexual orientation.
REASON FOR FIRING DISPUTED
However the Sacramento-based chapter released a statement Tuesday, August 14, anticipating the delivery of the signatures, attesting that Griffin was not fired because of his sexuality.
'Contrary to media reports, the Golden Empire Council did not remove this camp staff member because of his sexual orientation or the BSA's membership standards policy,' reads the council's statement.
The council maintains that Griffin was fired for 'insubordination' and 'failure to dress appropriately' for camp functions.
'Regardless of what the council gives as reasoning for my removal, the overwhelming show of solidarity at today's delivery tells quite a different story,' said Griffin. 'I loved being part of the Boy Scouts, and I'm simply overwhelmed by the love and support the Scouting community has given me through this difficult time. I hope the council rejects this horrible policy soon, so no more Scouts or leaders have to go through what I did.'
Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, a Scout-led organization dedicated to lifting the ban, applauded Hayes and Griffin for taking action locally, noting that their efforts reflect what's happening in Boy Scout councils across the country.
'From Minnesota to Vermont, Rhode Island to California, local Boy Scout councils are standing up and rejecting the Boy Scouts of America's discriminatory policy barring Gay scouts and leaders,' said Wahls. 'Scouts for Equality is at the forefront of this effort, and we'll continue working with brave Scouts and leaders like Tim and Alex, empowering local councils and charter organizations to speak for themselves and their members.'
As of late, the effort to change the BSA's policy on Gay scouts and leaders has garnered bipartisan support. Last week, President Obama, who serves as honorary president of the Boy Scouts of America, publicly opposed the policy. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has also said he supports allowing Gay Americans to participate in Scouting.
Here in Washington, both of the state's gubernatorial candidates, Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee, support lifting the ban.
At press time, Hayes and Griffin's online petition had garnered nearly 80,000 signatures. You can sign the petition online at www.change.org/petitions/golden-empire-council-reject-the-boy-scouts-of-america-s-anti-gay-policy-and-reinstate-tim-griffin.
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