A 19-year-old Boy Scout has been axed from his position as a summer camp counselor after revealing that he is gay.
The Daily News reports that Eric Jones, who had been serving as a counselor at a Missouri-based Boy Scout summer camps in Missouri, lost his job after telling his camp director that he was gay.
"I'd been working on coming out," Jones is quoted by the Daily News as saying. "I thought it was time to have my life of scouting and my other life come together."
Jones, whose encounter with the camp director was filmed as part of Ryan James Yezak's new documentary, "Second Class Citizens," said that although he was aware of the long-standing Boy Scouts policy, he'd hoped the director "would overlook" his sexuality, given that he'd been working at the summer camp for nearly five years. Still, Jones said he didn't regret the decision.
"This is definitely good for me. I'm generally happy," he said. “But most importantly, I feel discriminated."
Jones' story arrives the same day that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) "emphatically reaffirmed" its policy of excluding gays as both leaders and Scouts, according to the Associated Press.
"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," the Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuci, told the AP. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."
Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin called the decision "a missed opportunity of colossal proportions" in a statement.
"With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued," Griffin noted. "These adults could have taught the next generation of leaders the value of respect, yet they’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance."
Added Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Herndon Graddick in a statement: "Until this ban is lifted, the Scouts are putting parents in a situation where they have to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are being turned away simply because of who they are. It's unfair policies like this that contribute to a climate of bullying in our schools and communities. Since when is that a value worth teaching young adults?"
The BSA's anti-gay policy had been in the headlines frequently in recent months following the case of Jennifer Tyrrell, who was forced to resign as leader of her 7-year-old son's Tiger Scout den after revealing she is a lesbian. According to GLAAD, Tyrrell will hand over 300,000 signatures at the BSA headquarters in Dallas, Texas calling for her to be reinstated.
View other LGBT people who have been fired or dismissed:
Gay Music Teacher Fired After Revealing Plans To Marry Partner
A Missouri-based gay music teacher at an area Catholic school was recently dismissed from his job after authorities learned of his plans to wed his male partner of 20 years in New York. Al Fischer was reportedly fired Feb. 17, 2012 from St. Ann Catholic School in north St. Louis County, where he'd worked for four years. Fischer did not comment directly about his dismissal, but instead referred to an email sent to his students' parents after he was terminated. "A family conversation about whether or not justice was served here could be a great thing," he wrote. "I do not want the lesson from this for the kids to be, 'Keep your mouth shut, hide who you are or what you think if it will get you in trouble.'" Fischer's partner, Charlie Robin, told the paper that the couple's relationship was not a secret at the school, and that Fischer was only fired after a representative of the St. Louis Archdiocese overheard him talking to co-workers about his wedding plans. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/29/al-fischer-gay-music-teacher-fired_n_1311324.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here</a>.
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