250,000 Want Gay Belmont Co. Woman Reinstated as Cub Scout Leader

Michael Locklear

Updated Mon, Apr 30, 2012 1:47 pm
Jennifer Tyrell, a Cub Scout leader who lives in Belmont County, was booted from the organization earlier this year for being a lesbian.

A quarter million people have signed an online petition to reinstate a Cub Scout leader who was removed for being gay, and a southeast Ohio woman is at the center of the national controversy.

Jennifer Tyrrell is from Bridgeport in Belmont County. She got the attention of national media outlets when Boy Scouts told her she could no longer serve because of her sexuality.

"They're saying that gay and lesbian people are dangerous to children, and that's absolutely false," she said. "That couldn't be further from the truth. I'm just a normal parent wanting to be involved in my son's life."

Deron Smith with Boy Scouts said in a statement that it is not "the right forum for children to become aware of the issue of sexual orientation, or engage in discussions about being gay."

It's their policy that gay people aren't allowed to be members.

But Tyrrell says she was up front with parents, letting them know about her sexuality at their first meeting, and she says they've rallied to support her.

Now, her attention is focused on the petition on the website Change.org.

"We were really excited when there were like 25 signatures. We were like, 'Yay, people are listening'," said Tyrrell.

Now, the count is now more than 259,000.

While Boy Scouts says there are no plans to change the policy, Tyrrell says she thinks the organization will eventually come around.