Episode #50

How Gay-vid beat Scouts-liath

The inside story of the grassroots uprising that cracked the Boy Scouts' gay ban
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For years—for decades—the Boy Scouts didn't just discriminate. They insisted on discriminating. They forced local troops to throw out gay scouts. They won a Supreme Court case to defend their right to discriminate. They told the press, over and over, that nothing was going to change.

And then, suddenly, something changed. 

This is how that happened. 

This is the story of how an Ohio mom, a Iowa Eagle Scout, and a gay teenager in California sparked a nationwide movement that ended one of the most hotly-defended policies of discrimination in America. This is the story of how their voices inspired millions to join the cause—to sign petitions and make phone calls, to march and lobby and send in their merit badges in protest. How they fought, and fought, and refused to give up. 

In this episode of the Flaming Sword of Justice, we interview Mike Jones, the behind-the-scenes campaign director at Change.org who worked with the public heroes of this campaign to win a change that many had dismissed as an impossibility. And then we talk to Jennifer Tyrrell, the mom whose petition sparked the wildfire—reaching her by phone the day after the vote to allow gay scouts. (The fight now continues to end the ban on gay leaders.) This is the first time anywhere that you can hear the whole story, from the inside, of how it all unfolded. It's inspiring, and it's more than that: it's a case study of how to beat the odds, from the bottom up. 

Below: see photos of our guest, Mike Jones, and the heroes of the story; and a timeline of the scouts campaign.

Originally posted on May 13, 2013


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