Scouts for Equality Timeline
April 2012 — Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian den mother from Ohio, is removed from her son’s Cub Scout unit because she is gay.
May 2012 — Zach Wahls, an LGBT rights advocate, Eagle Scout, and the son of a same-sex couple from Iowa known for his testimony before the Iowa legislature, delivers a Change.org petition started by Ms. Tyrrell to BSA leadership at their national meeting.
June 2012 — Zach Wahls teams up with Jonathan Hillis, a youth member of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board, and other Eagle Scouts to launch Scouts for Equality.
July 2012 — BSA reaffirms its ban against gay adults following a two-year review of the policy.
Fall 2012 — Scouts for Equality successfully petitions major BSA sponsors Intel and UPS to suspend their funding until BSA ends its discrimination, and Ryan Andresen, a gay Boy Scout from California, is denied his Eagle Scout award because of his sexual orientation.
January 2013 — The Boy Scouts of America announces it will reconsider its ban on gay youth and schedules a vote for May 2013.
Spring 2013 — Scouts for Equality leads an unprecedented national effort, working with GLAAD, HRC, the Inclusive Scouting Network and others, to win the May vote.
May 2013 — The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council votes 61% to 39% to end the organization’s ban on gay youth.
January 2014 — The new membership policy formally takes effect, ending the BSA’s ban on gay youth but maintaining the ban on gay adults.
April 2014 — The Boy Scouts of America revokes the charter of Seattle Troop 98, which refused to discriminate against its gay Scoutmaster.
Fall 2014 — Scouts for Equality works with David Boies and Boies, Schiller, Flexner, LLP to craft a legal challenge to the Boy Scouts of America’s continued ban on gay adults.
September 2014 — The Boy Scouts of America denies employment to Yasmin Cassini, a lesbian woman from Colorado, because of her sexual orientation—which is illegal in the state of Colorado.
March 2015 — Yasmin Cassini files a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the prelude to legal action.
April 2015 — The Greater New York Councils announce that they have hired Pascal Tessier, the nation’s first known openly gay Eagle Scout under the BSA’s new policy, to work at their summer camp in direct defiance of the BSA’s national ban. The Tessier family chose to retain legal counsel through Boies, Schiller, Flexner, LLP, in the event that the BSA challenged his employment. Later that month, the New York Attorney General’s office opens an investigation into Boy Scouts of America hiring practices across the state.
May 2015 — Amid mounting legal pressure, Boy Scouts of America President and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declares the ban “unsustainable,” and calls for its end.
July 10, 2015 — The Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Committee unanimously votes to end the organization’s ban on gay adults. The resolution advances to the National Executive Board for final approval.
July 27, 2015 — Three years and two weeks after reaffirming its ban on gay members, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board votes to end the organization’s decades-old national ban on gay adults, while affirming individual units’ ability to select leaders in line with its religious principles.
December 30, 2016 – A little more than a year after ending its ban on gay adult leaders, the Boy Scouts of America expels 8-year-old Joe Maldonado from Cub Scouts because he is transgender (birth certificate reads “female”; identifies as male). Although the BSA had never had a policy on transgender boys, after kicking out Joe they announced that they were relying on birth certificates to determine eligibility.
January 31, 2017 – One month after kicking out Joe Maldonado, the Boy Scouts of America announces that they will allow transgender boys into Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. During a video announcement, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh shared that moving forward the BSA would accept the gender listed by parents/guardians on the youth application.
July 19, 2017 – Scouts for Equality makes a public appearance at the BSA National Jamboree. National directors Justin Wilson and Eric Busse attended as guests of the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association. Over the course of the 10-day jamboree, Eric and Justin shared information on SFE with Scouts and Scouters, served as resources for participants who had questions about LGBTQ+ topics, worked with Scouts from all backgrounds who needed some support, and networked with other supportive individuals.
October 11, 2017 – The Boy Scouts of America announces that they will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting in 2018 and establish a new program starting in 2019 for older girls based on the Boy Scout curriculum that gives them a path to the Eagle Scout rank.
January 15, 2018 – For the first time, girls are admitted into Cub Scouts through the BSA’s “early adopter program”, kick-starting the Family Scouting program. Positive news stories run throughout the country in response to the first girls joining in various early adopter councils throughout the country.
July 30, 2018 – Scouts for Equality partners with the Indiana University LGBTQ+ Culture Center and the IU First Nations Educational & Cultural Center to host a Rainbow Cafe on the IU campus for NOAC participants. Although not officially part of NOAC, the Rainbow Cafe proves to be a great success with over 500 Scouts and Scouters visiting. This is the first Rainbow Cafe to ever be held at NOAC.
October 3, 2018 – The Boy Scouts of America announces that youth who are 16 but not yet 18 when the Scouts BSA program begins on February 1, 2019, will have the opportunity to apply for extensions so that they may earn Eagle Scout. This policy change by the BSA opens the door for the first time for Sydney Ireland to achieve her dream of earning Eagle Scout.