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

eagle scout badge

What does it mean to be an Eagle Scout? For many it means standing up for what's right -- even if that means revoking your Eagle Scout medal. That's what some former Scouts have started doing following the American Boy Scout's announcement that they're standing by their anti-gay policy.

It all started when Boing Boing writer Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote about how her husband, Christopher, sent in a letter resigning from the Boy Scouts. The post inspired another former Eagle Scout to send in his own letter. And it inspired another, and another. The idea is catching on. But is the message getting through?


Maybe! James Turley is a member of the Boy Scouts of America's governing board (he's also Chairman and CEO of huge accounting firm, Ernst & Young). Turley has pledged to change the Boy Scouts' policy from the inside.

I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning and service, however the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse. As I have done in leading Ernst & Young to being a most inclusive organization, I intend to continue to work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress.

Right on, Mr. Turley! I would much rather see change from within than watch as men give back an award they worked hard to earn. I just hope the changes can move quickly.

My son started Cub Scouts just this year. He and his dad saw the local troop marching in a neighborhood parade and were inspired. And since Dad was an Eagle Scout, it just made sense to join. We started sending him to the local troop in Brooklyn without really asking any questions about their policies toward gay and lesbian participants. But while our little Scout is too young to have any notion of his sexual orientation, I'm hoping whatever it is, he'll find himself in a world that is more accepting. And that includes his Boy Scout troop.

Do you think former Eagle Scouts returning their medals could have an impact on BSA's policy?


Image via airplanemouse/Flickr

Read More >