Gay rights group the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has commended performers Carly Rae Jepsen and Train for pulling out of performing at the Boy Scouts of America’s annual jamboree because of the organisation’s anti-gay policy.
Jepsen tweeted fans earlier this week to say: “As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer…I always have and will continue to support the LGBT community on a global level and stay informed on the ever changing landscape in the ongoing battle for gay rights in this country and across the globe.”
Train added: “We have always seen the BSA as a great and noble organization. We look forward to participating in the Jamboree this summer, as long as they make the right decision before then.”
BSA director of publicity Deron Smith said the organisation appreciates “everyone’s right to express an opinion” and will remain focussed on putting on its jamboree.
Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s VP of Communications, released a statement on the issue. He said: “No fair-minded media outlet, corporation or celebrity will want to partner with the BSA as long as the organization puts discrimination and anti-gay bias before the needs of young people,
“GLAAD will continue to call for partners of the BSA to speak out against the anti-gay ban until the BSA puts Scouting first and adopts a national non-discrimination policy. Carly Rae Jepsen and Train’s decisions not only send the right message to the BSA, but remind LGBT young people that they are supported and accepted,” he continued.
He said he hoped the BSA would do “what’s right for scouting… to stop forcing young men into the closet.”
“LGBT acceptance is widespread,” he told Radio.com. “Artists, corporations and sponsors are not willing to partner with an organization that doesn’t respect their fans.”
Since Jepsen and Train had pulled out, Ferraro said it would be difficult for the BSA to find a replacement. He said: “The only celebrities who are outspokenly anti-gay are Victoria Jackson and Chuck Norris,” he said.
Before they quit, a Change.org petition with over 62,000 signatures was arranged by Eagle Scout, and former Boy Scout leader Derek Nance, urging them not to go ahead with the performance.
He said: ”I came out as gay because I realized the best way to help end this dangerous policy is to stand up, speak out, and tell the organization I love to do the right thing,
“A Scout is brave, and I’m thrilled that Carly Rae and Train have joined me in standing up for what is right. I hope the Boy Scouts of America also choose to be brave this May.”
The national Boy Scouts of Americas board previously postponed from making a decision, but is meeting in May, and is expected to decide on the policy then. It is considering lifting its national ban on allowing gay volunteers, members and staff, which would effectively allow individual scout troops to decide on whether to be inclusive or not.
Reports suggest that GLAAD will issue a formal invitation for Carly Rae Jepsen and Train to perform at the GLAAD Media Awards later this year, when Madonna will present an award to Anderson Cooper.
Victoria Jackson, the former Saturday Night Life actress-turned Tea Party activist, spoke on the Howard Stern show about her opposition to equal marriage, saying that allowing it would “make God mad”.
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