BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The ban is over. Just one day after the Boy Scouts of America changes its policy on gay adult leaders, a family who’s been part of the fight for years speaks out.
Marcus Washington has more.
Tracie Felker has two sons–both Eagle Scouts and both gay. She says discrimination of any kind is never OK and that the Boy Scouts lifting the ban is truly a stand for justice.
There is nothing more important to Oliver and Tracie Felker than their two sons. They’re both Boy Scouts–now Eagle Scouts–and both gay.
So when the ban was lifted, allowing openly gay adults to serve as leaders in Boy Scouts of America on Monday, Tracie says she felt relief and then exhilaration.
“My family, like many others, have felt this policy was just wrong,” Tracie Felker said.
Tracie says the previous ban on homosexuality in Boy Scouts of America was something that never really affected her family, but she did fear for her son when he came out and stepped forward.
“When Pascal started speaking out, I was supportive but I was also just worried. I knew that scouting meant a lot to him. I knew that there was a very good chance that he would get kicked out by the Boy Scouts. They had already kicked out other youth who were openly gay,” she said.
The Felkers’ oldest son Pascal Tessier, who was openly gay to Boy Scouts of America before Monday’s gay ban was lifted, was hired by New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America as a camp counselor in upstate New York some three months before the recent ruling.
“So by hiring Pascal, they essentially challenged the national organization to take the next step,” said Felker.
President Robert Gates spoke out about the organization’s previous policy, saying it was time for the 105 year old organization to make changes.
“We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it would be,” said Gates.
Under the new policy, leaders who were previously removed from scouts because of the gay ban can now reapply.
The new policy was approved unanimously by Boy Scouts of America’s 17-member national executive committee.