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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Eagle Scout and outspoken equality advocate Zach Wahls today delivered more than 275,000 signatures to the Boy Scouts of America calling on the group to end its long history of anti-gay discrimination and reinstate Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who in April was forcibly removed as den leader of her son's Boy Scouts troop because she's gay.
Since launching her Change.org petition, Tyrrell has worked with GLAAD to share her story in national media, garnering support from celebrities including Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Ricky Martin, stars of “Glee” and more than a quarter million Americans. Actress and recording artist Kat Graham this week dedicated her musical performance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to Tyrrell and gay scouts everywhere.
After delivering the signatures, Wahls met briefly with Deron Smith, public relations director with the Boy Scouts of America's national office.
"While today's meeting was productive and thoughtful, the delivery of these petitions marks the beginning of this journey, not the end," Wahls said. "I thought our dialogue today was an honest one, and I'm looking forward to continuing the conversation in the months ahead. We leave today one step closer to religious and personal freedom than when we arrived, and it's hard to be anything but thrilled about that."
Wahls, author of “My Two Moms” and whose online video in support of his gay moms went viral last year, delivered the signatures on behalf of Tyrrell.
Wahls and Tyrrell will unite at the 23rd annual GLAAD Media Awards in San Francisco this Saturday, June 2, to share their story. Wahls' new initiative, Out to Dinner, which aims to bring together gay and allied families with those still deciding, will launch later this month. More information on Out to Dinner is available HERE.
"I am so grateful for the support I've received from Zach and from the thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts who have signed my petition," Tyrrell said. "If you look at the petition comments, and read through the thousands of entries left by current scouts and scout leaders, it's clear that the energy within the Boy Scouts of America's membership is there to change this policy. All it takes now is leadership."
Organizations including the Girl Scouts of America, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, as well as the 4H Club already welcome gay youth as well as adult leaders.
Live signature totals from Jennifer Tyrrell's campaign HERE.
CNN interview with Jennifer Tyrrell and son Cruz Burns HERE.
Kat Graham's support for Jennifer Tyrrell on The Ellen DeGeneres Show HERE.