Scouts for Equality
The campaign to end discrimination against gay Scouts
For decades, the Boy Scouts of America was embroiled in controversy over its ban that prohibited openly gay youth and adults from participating in its programs. In 2012, Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and son of two lesbian parents, founded Scouts for Equality with three other Eagle Scouts. The mission of Scouts for Equality is to rally support for overturning the BSA’s restrictive membership policies and allow all boys and adults to participate in Scouting.
When the BSA announced it would open discussion on this issue, GSG helped Scouts for Equality craft and execute its campaign for reform. We recognized that Scouts for Equality needed a media relations strategy that would allow it to be both proactive and reactive – publicizing its story while responding to BSA announcements and developments – all in an effort to promote a “yes” vote for the resolution, to be voted on at the 2013 BSA National meeting.
We developed a strategy that positioned Scouts for Equality as the organization of record for the movement to approve the resolution. We constructed an aggressive and ambitious media outreach campaign in the weeks leading up to the vote that positioned Wahls as a compelling spokesperson.
On May 23, 2013 the BSA National Council overwhelmingly adopted the resolution with over 60% support, allowing gay youth to participate in Scouting– a huge first step towards complete equality. Widely credited for the pivotal role it played in this historic vote, Scouts for Equality gained major visibility on this issue in many leading news outlets including ABC News, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, New York Times, TIME and the Wall Street Journal.