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Gay Eagle Scout Urges Amazon to End Support for Boy Scouts

The Chevy Chase teen, who was one of the first openly gay Eagle Scouts in the country, is asking Amazon.com to stop supporting the Boy Scouts while it bans gay leaders.

Pascal Tessier of Kensington is happy he is an Eagle Scout, but wants the national Scouting organization to end its ban on gay adults serving as leaders. Credit: Screenshot from NBC Washington video.
Pascal Tessier of Kensington is happy he is an Eagle Scout, but wants the national Scouting organization to end its ban on gay adults serving as leaders. Credit: Screenshot from NBC Washington video.

When Pascal Tessier became one of the country’s first openly gay Eagle Scouts in February, he pledged to keep pushing the organization he loves to become more inclusive.

On Wednesday, the Chevy Chase teen challenged the Boy Scouts' remaining ban on gay scout leaders, delivering a Change.org petition with more than 120,000 signatures to the Seattle headquarters of Amazon, reports The Baltimore Sun. The petition asks the online retailer to stop donations by its charitable program, AmazonSmile, to the Boy Scouts.

Tessier was joined by Geoff McGrath, a Scoutmaster from Seattle who was fired earlier this year because he is gay.

"I am standing here today outside of Amazon.com's headquarters to deliver one important message: discrimination is nothing to smile about," Tessier said, according to the Sun. "I'm asking Amazon to stand by its own policy and its commitment to the LGBT community, and remove organizations that discriminate against LGBT people -- like the Boy Scouts of America did when they fired Geoff McGrath -- from their AmazonSmile program."

Boy Scout Troop 52 of Chevy Chase, one of the nation's oldest, recognized Tessier with the rank of Eagle Scout this winter, reports WISTV.com. He has spoken frequently to the national media advocating for the overturn of the Boy Scouts' ban on gay scouts.

Gay youths have been allowed in the Boy Scouts of America since Jan. 1, after the organization's national council voted in May 2013 to lift its longstanding ban on gay scouts. 

However, gay leaders in the organization remain banned and Tessier and his family hope to see that restriction lifted, as well.

"On my 18th birthday, I'm planning on applying to be an adult leader for the Boy Scouts so that we push the issue," he said.

Tessier said he was glad he would still be able to call himself a Boy Scout and become an Eagle Scout, but he said he would remain an activist on the issue.

"There's so much more to do," he told CBS News last winter. "I'm not stopping. That's for sure."

He told the Washington Post his experience as a Scout has been life-changing and he "wouldn’t be the person I am today without the Boy Scouts.”

Missy May 23, 2014 at 06:59 AM
So much for tolerance.
Rob Beall May 23, 2014 at 07:36 AM
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
Steve May 23, 2014 at 08:36 AM
He looks like Mr.Slave from South Park
Sue Crandall May 23, 2014 at 12:03 PM
I don't understand something. When I participated in Girl Scouts years ago, I'm sure I encountered lesbian scouts and leaders, as well as heterosexual scouts and leaders, but because the issue of the sexuality of children wasn't a subject at the forefront, I'll never know who I encountered, nor do I care. I do know that all my leaders and camp counselors were women, I learned skills for a lifetime( tuna fish can stoves, anyone?), and had great role models. So, from the age of 6 till the age of 18, I participated in an organization that I was proud to be a part of. I can only opine that introducing the subject of sexuality has not been a good thing for either organization, whose original purpose was to shape good moral citizens. Maybe I'm too simplistic, but why does any child, or person for that matter. need to declare sexual preference in any organization? And, as far as leaders go, unless that individual has a criminal record for child molestation, they should be allowed to volunteer. Crimes committed against children are a police matter, and can be dealt with if and when they occur; no person should ever be convicted in advance.
Chuck May 31, 2014 at 09:12 AM
BSA should have known giving an inch wouldn't be enough.

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