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NEW TUMBLR: Eagle Scouts Returning Their Badges

Back2Stonewall reader Bob S. tipped us off to a Tumblr that shows a bunch of photos of letters to the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board from Eagle Scouts who are returning their Eagle Scout badges due to the BSA’s homophobic policy. If you know someone who has done this tell them to contribute their letter here.

One Eagle Scout, Joseph Hartman, wrote,

Because of your reaffirmation of your policy to ban openly gay members, it is with a heavy heart and with sorrow, that I relinquish my rank of Eagle Scout and any past or present affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America.

Until the past month, I have been a proud Eagle Scout and strove to live the values I was taught as a boy and a young man. I was a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow, I worked at Philmont Scout Ranch as a Ranger and have credited the Boy Scouts as the reason I have found meaningful success in my adulthood. I’ve held the rank of Eagle since the paperwork was signed on my Eagle packet at my final review board on November 14, 2002. That day is seared in my memory, not only because I attended my final board, but because I also attended the funeral of one of my best friends and fellow Eagle Scout who died in a car wreck. I do not take this renunciation lightly and it is one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I’m not doing this because of my opinion on homosexuality. While I support same-sex marriage and equality, this has nothing to do with why I am currently ashamed to be a part of the present-day Boy Scouts of America. Religious equality and diversity was one of the most meaningful values I was taught during my time as a Scout. As a Protestant, I attended my first and only Catholic Mass and Latter-Day Saints service as a Scout. There are religions and denominations that accept the equality of same-sex couples and their beliefs should be respected as well.

We came together as a Troop of boys from different backgrounds, religions and beliefs and found a common ground to do what was best for our community and country. That was the Boy Scouts of America I was proud to be a part of, but it is not the organization that exists today.

He also goes on to cite the 10th Point of the  Scout Law

A Scout is Brave.

A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him.

It’s great to see allies, queer or straight, willing to give up their hard-earned, well-deserved honors from this organization in the name of equality.

Thank you!

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Roy McKenzie

Roy is Back2Stonewall's webmaster and occasional contributor. You'll probably see most of his posts in the Gay Geek section.

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