Boy Scouts: “A few” returned medals

Boy Scouts confirm some Eagle Scouts return their medals after exclusion of gays

Topics: Gay Rights, Boy Scouts, Human Rights, Texas, Conservatism, , ,

Boy Scouts: "A few" returned medals

The Boy Scouts of America confirmed to Salon that after a week of controversy surrounding its continuing ban on gays, some Eagle Scouts responded by returning their commendations. “Throughout the years people have chosen to return Eagle medals for a variety of reasons,” Deron Smith replied to questions from Salon in an email. “In the past two weeks we’ve received a few (less than ten).”

The group has faced pressure to admit gays for more than a decade. But last week’s renewed affirmation of the policy  is increasingly marginal after same-sex marriage has become legal in several states, the military dropped “don’t ask, don’t tell” and President Obama expressed support for same-sex marriage.

The number of resignations has not matched an outpouring of social media activity that followed the decision. In particular, several Eagle Scouts have renounced the title in letters posted online — including  Douglas Woodhouse, who returned his Eagle Award with a letter that’s posted on Open Salon. Boing Boing alone has published more letters than the Scouts say it has received. As of this writing, the new group Eagle Scouts for Equality has almost 400 likes on Facebook. Founder and Eagle Scout Sam Bonin is encouraging Scouts to lodge protest calls to the organization’s Texas headquarters on Aug. 1, the 100th anniversary of the first Eagle Scout award.

You Might Also Like

Many of the sorrowful letters say that excluding gays is contrary to the values they learned in many years as Scouts. But Smith tells Salon that Scouts have no obligation to even be aware of homosexuality if they don’t want to be.  “Members join Scouting to associate freely with those who share their values, views, goals, and vision—which is a right of all Americans. Forcing parents to potentially have to address this topic with their children before they are ready infringes on their rights to address issues of their choosing, when they wish to address them.”

The Scouts came under further criticism last week after a gay staffer was fired from a Boy Scout camp in northern California. The move prompted 10 other workers to resign in protest.

Woodhouse said he wouldn’t refer to himself as an Eagle Scout until the policy changes. Scouts generally earn the top rank of Eagle after thousands of hours of activity including a major community service project.

“It’s never an easy decision to give up their Eagle award,” Woodhouse said. “No one became an Eagle Scout lightly. This is not a small gesture on anybody’s part.”

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Martyna Blaszczyk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 1

    Pond de l'Archeveche - hundreds thousands of padlocks locked to a bridge by random couples, as a symbol of their eternal love. After another iconic Pont des Arts bridge was cleared of the padlocks in 2010 (as a safety measure), people started to place their love symbols on this one. Today both of the bridges are full of love locks again.

    Anders Andersson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 2

    A bird's view of tulip fields near Voorhout in the Netherlands, photographed with a drone in April 2015.

    Aashit Desai/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 3

    Angalamman Festival is celebrated every year in a small town called Kaveripattinam in Tamil Nadu. Devotees, numbering in tens of thousands, converge in this town the day after Maha Shivratri to worship the deity Angalamman, meaning 'The Guardian God'. During the festival some of the worshippers paint their faces that personifies Goddess Kali. Other indulge in the ritual of piercing iron rods throughout their cheeks.

    Allan Gichigi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 4

    Kit Mikai is a natural rock formation about 40m high found in Western Kenya. She goes up the rocks regularly to meditate. Kit Mikai, Kenya

    Chris Ludlow/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 5

    On a weekend trip to buffalo from Toronto we made a pit stop at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. I took this shot with my nexus 5 smartphone. I was randomly shooting the falls themselves from different viewpoints when I happened to get a pretty lucky and interesting shot of this lone seagull on patrol over the falls. I didn't even realize I had captured it in the shot until I went back through the photos a few days later

    Jassen T./National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 6

    Incredibly beautiful and extremely remote. Koehn Lake, Mojave Desert, California. Aerial Image.

    Howard Singleton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 7

    Lucky timing! The oxpecker was originally sitting on hippo's head. I could see the hippo was going into a huge yawn (threat display?) and the oxpecker had to vacate it's perch. When I snapped the pic, the oxpecker appeared on the verge of being inhaled and was perfectly positioned between the massive gaping jaws of the hippo. The oxpecker also appears to be screeching in terror and back-pedaling to avoid being a snack!

    Abrar Mohsin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 8

    The Yetis of Nepal - The Aghoris as they are called are marked by colorful body paint and clothes

    Madeline Crowley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 9

    Taken from a zodiac raft on a painfully cold, rainy day

    Ian Bird/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

    National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Entries

    Slide 10

    This wave is situated right near the CBD of Sydney. Some describe it as the most dangerous wave in Australia, due to it breaking on barnacle covered rocks only a few feet deep and only ten metres from the cliff face. If you fall off you could find yourself in a life and death situation. This photo was taken 300 feet directly above the wave from a helicopter, just as the surfer is pulling into the lip of the barrel.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>