Missouri Eagle Scout Fired From Scout Camp For Revealing Truth About Himself
|Courtesy of Eric Jones|
ST. JOSEPH, MO -- A 19-year-old Eagle Scout, (BSA) has been terminated from his summer employment as a summer camp counselor at a Missouri-based Boy Scout summer camp after revealing that he is gay.
Eric Jones, who had been a member of the Boy Scouts Of America since he was in elementary school, earning his way to the rank of Eagle Scout two years ago at the age of 17, was told to pack his bags and immediately leave the BSA summer camp where he was serving as a counselor, after informing the camp's director that he was gay.
Jones, whose encounter with the director was filmed as part of Ryan James Yezak's new documentary, "Second Class Citizens," told a local Fox News affiliate 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.
"This is definitely good for me. I'm generally happy," he said. “But most importantly, I feel discriminated. I'd been working on coming out. I thought it was time to have my life of scouting and my other life come together."
Calling the decision "a missed opportunity of colossal proportions," Human Rights Campaign Chad Griffin wrote;
"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.
These adults could have taught the next generation of leaders the value of respect, yet they’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance."
In a strongly worded statement, Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Herndon Graddick reflected;
"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?"
Virginia Church Official Faces August Trial In Lesbian Custody Fight
BURLINGTON, VT -- During a court hearing in U.S. District Court in Burlington Tuesday, prosecutors and defence lawyers discussed the particulars for the case of a Virginia based Mennonite pastor, accused of illegally assisting in removing a child- in a hotly contested custody case between a former lesbian couple- from the United States and placing her out of the reach of the estranged partner reportedly in Nicaragua where they were last known to be in early 2010.
According to federal indictments unsealed in the case, federal prosecutors allege that Kenneth Miller of Stuarts Draft, Virginia is facing federal charges that he assisted Lisa Miller, [No relation] and her daughter, Isabella, now aged 10, drive in September 2009 from Lynchburg, Virginia to Buffalo, New York, where Miller and her daughter entered Canada. Once inside the Canadian border, prosecutors allege they were met by another Mennonite who helped them travel to Toronto and then board an international flight to Mexico City, from where they journeyed to Nicaragua.
U. S. District Court Judge William Sessions ruled Miller's trial should begin August 7, rejecting a request by prosecutors to delay the trial because the wife of a key witness living in Nicaragua is expecting a baby around that time. The trial is expected to last about a week.
The witness has been questioned by prosecutors and defence attorneys, and Miller is eager to go to trial, said defence attorney Joshua Autry, of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.
"There is not going to be a plea in this case," Autry said in court. "He is hoping for an acquittal."
Lisa Miller and her former lesbian partner, Janet Jenkins, were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2000. In April 2002, Lisa Miller gave birth to Isabella, conceived through artificial insemination. For a time the two raised Isabella together, but in November 2003 Miller filed to dissolve the civil union. Custody initially was granted to her with liberal visitation rights for Jenkins.
According to court documents, Miller refused to comply with the visitation orders from the family court. In late 2009, a Vermont family court judge gave Jenkins custody, but by the time the transfer date arrived Miller and daughter were already living outside the U. S.
The Supreme Courts of Vermont and the Commonwealth of Virginia have ruled in favour of Jenkins, essentially treating the case as a custody battle, similar to that of a battle between a heterosexual couple. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Prosecutors also have alleged that they believe Kenneth Miller's attorneys may try to claim he didn't know when he helped Lisa Miller leave the country that Jenkins had visitation rights with Isabella. Prosecutors will argue he helped Miller and Isabella flee the country to ensure Jenkins would not have access to the child.