New York Boy Scouts buck national organization, hire gay Eagle Scout for leadership role
The Greater New York Councils chapter of the Boy Scouts went against its national organization’s rules on Thursday when it announced the hiring of 18-year-old gay Eagle Scout Pascal Tessier as a summer camp leader, the Associated Press reported.
“We’ve had, for a very long time, an anti-discrimination policy,” board member Richard Mason told KABC-TV. “That’s anti-discrimination in every respect, including with regard to sexual orientation.”
The Scouts voted in May 2013 to repeal its longstanding policy against allowing gay members, but the group’s 1,400 delegates declined to address a similar ban on gay troop leaders, thus allowing the latter policy to continue.
The organization’s national spokesperson, Deron Smith, said the policy against gay Scout leaders is still active, telling the AP, “We are looking into the matter.”
According to WCBS-TV, Tressier, a Maryland native, openly challenged the organization’s ban on gay membership before being certified as an Eagle Scout.
“Even if I had been kicked out along the way, I wouldn’t have changed anything. The whole experience was something worth having,” he said. “Not only for myself but also for all the other people involved, and for all the people it affects.”
Tressier is expected to work with around 9,000 boys and girls in the New York group’s summer camps program. Overall, his employer serves more than 46,000 minors through various programs.
Reuters reported earlier this year that the Scouts’ membership nationwide declined in 2014, falling to 2.4 million compared to 2.6 million in 2013.
KABC’s report, as aired on Thursday, can be seen below.