Society

Eagle Scouts Return Their Medals to Protest Boy Scouts' Anti-Gay Policy

| by Michael Allen

In response to the Boy Scouts banning homosexuals from being scout leaders and members, several Eagle Scouts have returned their medals and renounced their membership.

BoingBoing.Net writer Maggie Koerth-Baker posted a story about how her husband, Christopher Baker, a former Eagle Scout, returned his medals to the Boy Scouts of America.

Former Eagle Scout Christopher Baker wrote to the Boy Scouts: "Today I am returning my Eagle Scout medal because I do not want to be associated with the bigotry for which it now stands. I hope that one day BSA stands up for all boys. It saddens me that until that day comes any sons of mine will not participate in the Boy Scouts."

The post drew a strong reaction from BoingBoing.Net readers and inspired other former Eagle Scouts to return their medals as well.

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Martin Cizmar, the arts and culture editor of Williamette Week in Portland, Oregon, wrote: “I am not gay. However, I cannot in good conscious hold this badge as long as the BSA continues a policy of bigotry. Though I didn't know at the time, I was acquainted with a number of gay scouts and scouters. They were all great men, loyal to the scout oath and motto and helpful to the movement. There is no fair reason they should not be allowed to participate in scouting."

Koerth-Baker said that the strong reaction wasn't a surprise: "I had seen, over the past week, individual letters having a huge impact on Facebook. But they weren't connected to one another. I wanted to do something that linked all these men and made their decisions something bigger than just individual choices."

"I actually have another half-dozen letters that I'm going to post later this week. The men are doing something really honest, and really respectable, and really brave. And I wanted to support them. I wanted to show them that this wasn't something they were alone in ... lots of other men felt this way."