A 19-year-old lesbian from Brighton, Mich., was fired from her job at a Boy Scout Camp near Detroit because she is gay, according to a petition the teenager launched on Change.org. The woman says she was forced to sign a document stating that she is gay before being unceremoniously kicked out of the camp, without so much as a car to make the two-hour journey home.
Lauren Jasenak says she was working at Michigan's D-bar-A Boy Scout Ranch last summer, up until the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its ban on gay scouts and troop leaders on July 17. The next day, Jasenak says she was called into the camp director's office, forced to sign a letter stating that she was gay, and then fired on the spot. Jasenak says the director ordered her off the property immediately, despite the fact that she did not have a car and was two hours from her home.
"As a 19-year-old, I am still in disbelief that the Boy Scouts discriminated against me," said Jasenak in her petition on Change.org. "I felt alone and scared, but most importantly, I had no idea how my rabbit, Thumper, and I were going to get home."
Jasenak had been volunteering with the Boy Scouts since she was 14, after discovering her love for "high-adventure activities." She joined the Boy Scouts Venturing program, and shortly thereafter, began working for Michigan Boy Scout camps. She says she loved every minute of her employment there — up until last July.
Jasenak's petition, which currently boasts more than 4,000 signatures, calls on Michigan's Great Lakes Council to stop discriminating against gay scouts, adults, and volunteers, and urges the Council to vote to end the BSA's antigay policy when the organization's board votes next month.
"This policy goes against the Scouting values of honesty, kindness, respect, and courage," said Jasenak in her petition. "I know many other Scouts, and even other Scout leaders who identify as gay, and I’m outraged that they must hide who they are to stay in Scouting under this policy. No one deserves to be treated like I was."
Under intense public scrutiny for its long-standing ban on "open or avowed homosexuals" in its ranks or leadership, the Boy Scouts of America announced this month that it will consider rescinding the ban on gay youth, but will continue to bar openly gay or lesbian adults from leadership or involvement in Scouting.
The BSA will submit the proposal to its 1,400-member national council the week of May 20, when the council gathers for its annual meeting in Texas. And some local councils are lining up in support of the policy change, including the BSA Northeast Illinois Council, which covers northern suburbs of Chicago, the Windy City Times reports.
Michigan's antidiscrimination statute does protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation, but extends only to those workers employed by public entities.