James Turley, the Global Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, and a board member of the Boy Scouts of America, has called for an end to the long-standing ban on gay Scouts and gay Scout leaders, and a new petition drive is aimed at board members who lead LGBT-inclusive companies.
Turley, in a statement release Tuesday, said he supports a proposed resolution to end the ban, and would to work from within the Scouting organization to bring about an end to anti-gay discrimination within the organization.
He added that it was his day job that contributed to his decision:
“Ernst & Young is proud to have such a strong record in LGBT inclusiveness. As CEO, I know that having an inclusive culture produces the best results, is the right thing for our people and makes us a better organization.
“My experience has led me to believe that an inclusive environment is important throughout our society and I am proud to be a leader on this issue. I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning and service, however the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse.
“As I have done in leading Ernst & Young to being a most inclusive organization, I intend to continue to work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress.”
Turley’s comments came amid the recent controversy surrounding Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted from her post as a volunteer den leader for her son’s Cub Scout chapter in April because she is a lesbian.
Tyrrell launched an online petition at Change.org calling on the Boy Scouts to change its policy that prohibits LGBT people from serving as troop den leaders; the petition, containing more than 275,000 signatures, was delivered last month to the Boy Scouts at its National Annual Meeting in Florida by Change.org officials and LGBT advocate, author and Eagle Scout, Zach Wahls.
Tyrrell is now targeting other BSA board members who, like Turley, lead companies committed to gay rights — the second petition calls on at AT&T chairman and chief executive Randall Stephenson to speak out on the issue.
“If Randall Stephenson has been so successful at leading a company committed to LGBT rights, he can use his power as a board member of the Boy Scouts of America to help change a discriminatory policy that prevents families like mine from being involved in Scouts,” Tyrrell wrote in the new petition.