Boy Scout Debate Heats Up

Top CEO issues statement about openly gay and lesbian troops and leaders

Will the Boy Scouts of America finally change its direction when it comes to banning gay scouts and leaders? (Photo by Think Stock)

Philly isn’t the only place where the debate is heating up over whether to reconsider the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) rule to banning gay and lesbian scouts and leaders from serving. But as we reported last week, the scouts are expected to decide whether it’s time to retire the discriminatory practices after one LGBT activist – a scout and the son of two lesbian moms –  Zach Wahls delivered a petition to headquarters asking the board to vote for a new policy to include gay and lesbian families.

This also comes after lesbian mom Jennifer Tyrrell started her own petition after she was kicked out as den mother of her son’s Cub Scout troop – simply for being gay.

CNBC reports today that Ernst & Young CEO James Turley – a board member for BSA – issued a statement that bodes well for the LGBT community.

“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,” says Turley. “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.”

Not only does Turley express a sentiment that seems to be shared by the majority of Fortune 500 companies today (all 100 firms on the Fortune Best Companies to Work For list offer non-discrimination policies for LGBT employees), but his statement is expected to carry some serious clout as the board debates the issue this year.

What do you think? Will the Boy Scouts finally allow gay and lesbian leaders to serve?