US: Gay Eagle Scout urges Amazon to drop support of scouts over anti-gay discrimination

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

One of the first openly gay Eagle Scouts in the US has announced that he will deliver over a petition with over a hundred thousand signatures to Amazon urging it to drop its support of the Boy Scouts of America.

He urges the online retailer to drop its charitable support of the BSA due to its policy which bans openly gay adult staff and volunteers.

The BSA last year lifted its ban on gay scouting members, a change which came into effect on 1 January 2014, but left in place a ban on openly gay adults.

Pascal Tessier, a member of Troop 52, was awarded the Eagle Scout badge in February to applause and handshakes, becoming what was believed to be the first openly gay scout to receive the honour.

At a news conference on Monday in front of Amazon’s office in Northwest Washington DC, 17-year-old Tessier said he would deliver the more than 120,000 signatures encouraging it to drop its support for the BSA from its AmazonSmiles charitable program.

The petition comes after Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old, the former leader of Troop 98 had his leadership “revoked” because he is anti-gay.

Speaking of Mr McGrath’s sacking, Tessier said: “It kind of reignited the feeling of anxiety and fear… It proved they are still going to punish adults so when I do turn 18, now I know for a fact I will get kicked out.”

Tessier will turn 18 in August this year.

Deron Smith, director of communications for the Boy Scouts of America, responded, saying: “Scouting represents millions of youth and adult members in diverse communities across the nation, many who have a variety of beliefs on a number of topics. We fully understand and appreciate that not everyone will agree with any one position or policy. America’s youth need Scouting, and by continuing to focus on the goals that unite us we continue to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.”

Tessier plans to travel to Seattle on Wednesday to deliver the petition to Amazon.