Ernst & Young CEO reaffirms stance against Boy Scouts discrimination policy

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Nearly a year after first speaking out, the CEO of Ernst & Young, James Turley, has published another statement asserting that he still believes the Boy Scouts should have made more of an effort to end institutionalized homophobia.

Turley, who is also on the Boy Scouts of America’s national board, became one of the first members in June 2012 to make a public statement expressing disapproval of the BSA’s policy against allowing gay people in the organization. Though they are currently considering a proposal allowing gay Scouts, gay leaders would still be banned. Turley published an opinion piece in Newsweek stating that his stance that the policy is wrong has not changed.

Though he says in the article that he had been privately pushing for a policy change for “some time,” he credits his decision to speak out publically with the dismissal of a lesbian den mother. “There was a lot of controversy—and rightly so, in my opinion… I came to the conclusion that the controversy risked damaging Ernst & Young’s brand. I felt I needed to speak out.”

Being experienced with both being a member of a committee and a person in charge, he also compared the two, saying that the BSA “is a member- and volunteer-driven organization. That’s part of our strength, but it’s also a challenge when it comes to making change… When [Ernst & Young ] decided to offer domestic partner benefits to LGBT employees, I didn’t have to ask for a vote.”

It is unlikely that Turley is the only one on the board who wants to end the current discriminatory policies, but there are clearly enough who don’t to stand in the way. However, many current and former Scouts are speaking out against both the policy as it stands now, as well as the way the proposed change would only allow gay Scouts up to age 18, after which they would be removed—while their straight counterparts would be allowed to stay.

Though Turley admits, “I wish we’d gone further this time. I hoped it would have been more,” he says he is “hopeful and optimistic that some change will take place.” Either way, though the BSA officially considers them unwelcome now, until there is equality, the battle for open inclusion is unlikely to end anytime soon.

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