CNN continued to show its unvarnished support for the GLAAD cause on Wednesday. Anchor Kyra Phillips was dripping with sympathy for a lesbian mother recently removed by the Boy Scouts as local cub den leader because of her orientation.
Phillips fawned over the subject's son as she asked him such questions as "tell me what makes your mom such a great den leader" and "Do you think it's pretty cool to have two mommies?" CNN claims to be a serious news network, but Phillips' "interview" could have passed for Oprah any day of the week as she helped Jennifer Tyrrell carry out her "mission" of changing the Boy Scout protocol of no gay den leaders.
Phillips has been quite clear in the past about where she stands on LGBT issues. She had the audacity to ask a Catholic bishop "why not get on board" with dissenting Catholics and support same-sex marriage. She also has insisted to conservative Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) that gay marriage is a "big issue."
And yet again on Wednesday CNN was blowing the trumpet for the latest GLAAD cause; the organization had publicly backed Jennifer Tyrrell. Phillips asked questions that let Tyrrell explain her case and padded the interview with laughable softballs for her 7 year-old son.
"Tell me what makes your mom so cool. What makes your mom so wonderful when you look at her and you're hanging out with her and you're at Boy Scouts?" Phillips asked the young Cruz Burns. "What is special about your two moms? Why are you so proud of them?" she asked later on.
The poor Burns was quite shy, so Phillips lamented that "It's tough being on national television." Not when CNN is rolling out the red carpet for you, it isn't.
A transcript of the segment, which aired on April 25 on Newsroom at 11:23 p.m. EDT, is as follows:
KYRA PHILLIPS: She volunteered to be her 7-year-old son's Cub Scout den leader. No one else apparently could or wanted to step-up, so Jennifer Tyrrell did. That is, until the Boy Scouts of America learned that she's gay and removed her as den leader. The Boy Scouts of America says they are just following a long-held policy, but Jennifer is now on a mission to change that.
What began as a local protest is now growing into a national campaign. Her petition on Change.org got more than 140,000 signatures in a matter of days. And she's got the backing from GLAAD and whole lot of support from young Hollywood celebs like Joshua Jackson and stars from 90210 and Glee. Jennifer Tyrrell and her son, Cruz, are joining us live from New York/ Oh, and I can see Cruz is pretty excited. Hi, Cruz.
CRUZ BURNS, mom removed as Cub Scout "den mother": Hi.
PHILLIPS: Hi. So, Cruz, tell me what makes your mom such a great den leader in the Boy Scouts.
JENNIFER TYRRELL, former Ohio Cub Scout "den mother": That's you, Cruz.
PHILLIPS: That's okay. Tell me what makes your mom so cool. What makes your mom so wonderful when you look at her and you're hanging out with her and you're at Boy Scouts?
BURNS: She's fun.
PHILLIPS: Yeah, what else? How does she make you feel? When you are with her and you are hanging out and having fun, how does mom make you feel?
PHILLIPS: Happy. (Laughing) All right. Okay, so you are a fun mom. You are happy. Tell us what happened when you found out you were being dismissed. What did the Boy Scouts tell you?
TYRRELL: I got a call from the local council representative saying that I had to resign because of my sexual orientation. And I was devastated. I cried for two days.
PHILLIPS: Was that it? They just said look, you are gay, you can't be a den leader? Did they explain why? Did they cite a policy or rule, any type of agreement that you signed, anything?
TYRRELL: Yeah. It is a policy of the BSA. But from the beginning, I was assured at the local level that it would not be a problem, that there would be no issue with it. And then there never has been.
PHILLIPS: Well, here's my question. Because I was looking through the policies and the definitions and I didn't see anything specifically about sexual orientation, Jennifer. I saw a lot of references to God, to country, to good citizenship. Did you see anything in there about sexual orientation?
TYRRELL: I'd never actually personally read them. I was aware of the policy and of the Supreme Court ruling from, I think it was, 2000.
TYRRELL: So being aware of those policies, I was hesitant to let Cruz even join the scouts, but he was really excited about it, so I expressed my concerns to the local cub master and he said there would be no problems. And there really hasn't been, Kyra. There's been nothing but support from all of my family, my friends, my scout parents. There's been nothing but.
PHILLIPS: Yeah, you pointed out in 2000 the Supreme Court did rule that the Boy Scouts of America can bar gays from being troop leaders, so the law isn't on your side, obviously. So why push this, Jennifer? Why talk to us? Why get involved with all the folks that are supporting you and really pick up this mission?
TYRRELL: Well it started out as a local rally to protest, just to show that I didn't really want to leave my position as den leader and it's, with the help of GLAD and Change.org, it has been amazing. So now I feel like we owe it to these kids. We owe it to America to tell everybody that this is the policy. Maybe they don't know because a lot of people aren't sure. And it just needs to be changed.
PHILLIPS: And we did get a statement from the Boy Scouts of America. Let me take a moment, Jennifer, to read this. And, Cruz, I've got a couple more questions for you, too, my friend. So be patient with me here. Here is what Boy Scouts of America told us:
"Scouting, and the majority of parents it serves, do not believe that it's the right forum for children to become aware of the issue of sexual orientation, or engage in discussions about being gay. Rather, such complex matters should be discussed with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers in the appropriate time and in the right setting. We fully understand and appreciate that not everyone will agree with any one position or policy. To disagree does not mean to disrespect and we respect everyone's right to have and express a different opinion."
So, Jennifer, let me ask you this because I'm looking at the beginning of this statement and it talks about engaging in discussions about being gay. Did you ever engage in discussions about being gay with the kids as an acting den mother?
TYRRELL: No ma'am, absolutely not. That never happened and, in fact, one of my parents was quoted as saying, "She was always just known as Den Leader Jen, not gay Den Leader Jen."
And another one of my parents had stated that he's never had to have this conversation with his child before, but now the BSA has put him in a position where he has to now explain everything that's going on and he's not happy that he's even had to have this discussion, because that's just something that doesn't come up. We were scouts. We were a scout family. We did scouting activities. We did community service activities. It's never been about anything other than that.
PHILLIPS: Cruz, do any of the other Boy Scouts or the parents give you a hard time about having two mommies?
PHILLIPS: Do you think it's pretty cool to have two mommies?
PHILLIPS: What makes that special? What is special about your two moms? Why are you so proud of them?
TYRRELL: It's Okay, honey.
PHILLIPS: It's tough being on national television. Okay. You are right there by your mom's side showing your support. That's enough said.
TYRRELL: He's a good boy.
PHILLIPS: You're darn right, he is.
PHILLIPS: So did anyone ever complain about the fact that you were in a partnership, Jennifer? Any of the other fellow scout parents or kids?
TYRRELL: No. It's never come up. It's never been an issue. It's – as I said, I have a very close relationship with my parents, we are a scouting family. It's just never been an issue, Kyra. It's just never – nobody cares. We were just scouts.
PHILLIPS: Before I let you go, what's next? Is Cruz no longer a Boy Scout? Does he want to stay in the scouts? What are you going to do?
TYRRELL: He's no longer a Boy Scout. And we are sad about that, but we can't support an organization that doesn't support our family. I would like for everybody that's watching to sign our petition at Change.org/Scouts. As you mentioned, we have already over 140,000 signatures. That's within a week. So, I think that we need to get this policy changed, and if everybody would just go sign that and share it with your friends.
PHILLIPS: Are you tired Cruz or are you getting tears?
PHILLIPS: Oh, okay. I just want to make sure you are okay.
PHILLIPS: I bet it has.
And appreciate it, Jennifer. Appreciate you coming on.
TYRRELL: Thank you very much.
PHILLIPS: Cruz, thanks for joining us with your mom. You keep loving her and taking care of her. Okay?