February102013
February82013
Mr. Wayne Brock Chief Scout Executive The Boy Scouts of America 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane Irving, Texas 75015
Dear Mr. Brock,
When I was a young man I was a member of The Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  I started as a young Tiger Cub and, years later, proudly earned my Eagle Scout Award.  The work I did and experiences I had with the BSA shaped the successes I have had later in life.  I very proudly displayed my Eagle Scout card in my wallet so that, simply upon opening my wallet to get money out, everyone would see my accomplishment.  I am sad to report that about six months ago I removed that card from my wallet.
Reading reports that homosexuals were banned from scouting made me ashamed to be associated with the organization I once relished.  I realize that this bigotry has been a part of scouting since it’s inception, but I was just recently made aware of it, and it disgusts me.  I have friends and family members who are homosexual and I consider them equal to myself.
All my life I have dreamed of being the troop leader of my future son’s scout troop, but that dream died not too long ago.  I do not want any future progeny of mine to learn bigotry, exclusion, hate, intolerance, or plain ignorance.  I personally do not want to promote or be a part of an organization that promotes such cancers on society.  I realize and understand that the BSA is a private organization and can make any rules for members it pleases, and I respect and support that, as an American.  I, however, cannot morally be associated with such an institution.  It is with a heavy heart that I renounce my Eagle Scout Award and return it to you.
I was initially waiting until today, February 6, 2013 to write you this letter and send back the award which I was once so proud.  Today, there was supposed to be a vote to remove the institutional ban on homosexuals in the BSA, I was hoping beyond hope that the leadership of the BSA would overturn the archaic and, honestly, un-American policy, but alas, the vote has been postponed.  The postponement of the assumed vote is as bad, in my mind, as a vote to keep the prejudiced policy intact. 
I have faith that one day, hopefully in the near future, the leadership of the BSA removes the blinders of narrow mindedness and overturns the institutional policy of exclusion so that any citizen of the United States of America, regardless of sexuality can take advantage of scouting.  When that does happen, I hope you remember me and return my Eagle Scout Award and return me to your rolls, as I am proud of my and my brother Eagle Scout’s achievement, but until then, I renounce my Eagle Scout Award and reprimand the BSA for it’s policy of exclusion and hate.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or comments, thank you for your time.
Yours,           
John F. DeSpain                                                                              
If policy is repealed, please send Eagle Award (plus the 2 other religious awards I returned) to:
John F. DeSpain III                                                                         
Troop 212                                                                                            
St. Louis, Missouri                                                                         

Mr. Wayne Brock
Chief Scout Executive
The Boy Scouts of America
1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas 75015

Dear Mr. Brock,

When I was a young man I was a member of The Boy Scouts of America (BSA).  I started as a young Tiger Cub and, years later, proudly earned my Eagle Scout Award.  The work I did and experiences I had with the BSA shaped the successes I have had later in life.  I very proudly displayed my Eagle Scout card in my wallet so that, simply upon opening my wallet to get money out, everyone would see my accomplishment.  I am sad to report that about six months ago I removed that card from my wallet.

Reading reports that homosexuals were banned from scouting made me ashamed to be associated with the organization I once relished.  I realize that this bigotry has been a part of scouting since it’s inception, but I was just recently made aware of it, and it disgusts me.  I have friends and family members who are homosexual and I consider them equal to myself.

All my life I have dreamed of being the troop leader of my future son’s scout troop, but that dream died not too long ago.  I do not want any future progeny of mine to learn bigotry, exclusion, hate, intolerance, or plain ignorance.  I personally do not want to promote or be a part of an organization that promotes such cancers on society.  I realize and understand that the BSA is a private organization and can make any rules for members it pleases, and I respect and support that, as an American.  I, however, cannot morally be associated with such an institution.  It is with a heavy heart that I renounce my Eagle Scout Award and return it to you.

I was initially waiting until today, February 6, 2013 to write you this letter and send back the award which I was once so proud.  Today, there was supposed to be a vote to remove the institutional ban on homosexuals in the BSA, I was hoping beyond hope that the leadership of the BSA would overturn the archaic and, honestly, un-American policy, but alas, the vote has been postponed.  The postponement of the assumed vote is as bad, in my mind, as a vote to keep the prejudiced policy intact. 

I have faith that one day, hopefully in the near future, the leadership of the BSA removes the blinders of narrow mindedness and overturns the institutional policy of exclusion so that any citizen of the United States of America, regardless of sexuality can take advantage of scouting.  When that does happen, I hope you remember me and return my Eagle Scout Award and return me to your rolls, as I am proud of my and my brother Eagle Scout’s achievement, but until then, I renounce my Eagle Scout Award and reprimand the BSA for it’s policy of exclusion and hate.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or comments, thank you for your time.

Yours,           

John F. DeSpain                                                                              

If policy is repealed, please send Eagle Award (plus the 2 other religious awards I returned) to:

John F. DeSpain III                                                                        

Troop 212                                                                                            

St. Louis, Missouri                                                                         


February62013
National Council, Boy Scouts of America

Attn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive

1325 Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015


Dear Mr. Brock and Members of the National Council:

Earning my Eagle was one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my youth. It was a challenge that was made to me by my mother and father. It was not something that came easy for me and when I completed it I was extremely proud. I have fond memories of my time in scouting as a young man.


The Boy Scouts of America’s ban against openly homosexual leaders, young members, and volunteers conflicts with my values. I cannot remain a member of the Boy Scouts of America and I respectfully return my Eagle award.


I urge you to reconsider your stance and openly accept all young men, regardless of their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs in to the Boy Scouts.


Sincerely

Benjamin D. Speirs



Eagle Award: 1986
Ammon, Idaho
Troop 343, Teton Peaks Council
Ammon 3rd Ward.

National Council, Boy Scouts of America


Attn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive


1325 Walnut Hill Lane

P.O. Box 152079

Irving, TX 75015





Dear Mr. Brock and Members of the National Council:

Earning my Eagle was one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my youth. It was a challenge that was made to me by my mother and father. It was not something that came easy for me and when I completed it I was extremely proud. I have fond memories of my time in scouting as a young man.

The Boy Scouts of America’s ban against openly homosexual leaders, young members, and volunteers conflicts with my values. I cannot remain a member of the Boy Scouts of America and I respectfully return my Eagle award.

I urge you to reconsider your stance and openly accept all young men, regardless of their sexual orientation or their religious beliefs in to the Boy Scouts.

Sincerely

Benjamin D. Speirs

Eagle Award: 1986

Ammon, Idaho

Troop 343, Teton Peaks Council

Ammon 3rd Ward.


February62013
Here is a copy of my letter sent to BSA, protesting their anti-gay stance in 2012.
I am proud of the number of Eagle Scouts that “get it” and have turned in their
badges in similar support.

Here is a copy of my letter sent to BSA, protesting their anti-gay stance in 2012.

I am proud of the number of Eagle Scouts that “get it” and have turned in their

badges in similar support.


January292013
I’m glad to see that the that the Boy Scouts of America national organization is reconsidering again. But it’s too late for me.

I’m glad to see that the that the Boy Scouts of America national organization is reconsidering again. But it’s too late for me.


January282013
Dear Members of the National Council of the BSA,
I understand that the BSA has reaffirmed its long-standing ban against openly homosexual leaders, youths as well as adults.  I have also recently learned of Maryland Pack 442’s brave stance against LGBTQ discrimination, and the National Capital Area Council’s threat to rescind their membership.  With these matters so powerfully in public view, other Scouts braver and more attentive than I have led the way.  A Scout knows how to recognize and follow good leadership.  I therefore enclose with this letter my Eagle Scout medal and badge, symbols of lifetime membership in Scouting’s brotherhood.
Receiving my Eagle Scout medal remains among the proudest accomplishments of my life, and I relinquish it with great reluctance.  Scouting, for me, was a school of leadership and confidence.  It was often a haven where kids like I and my geeky, misfit, and eccentric friends could thrive and shine.  I remain grateful to Scouting for its many lessons, and I value the opportunities it provides for young people worldwide.  
Unfortunately, Scouting was also in my experience frequently a school of paranoia and hatred, and I witnessed more than once the ill effects of its obtuse enforcement of sexual norms.  I find it particularly perverse that the BSA relies on the category of “leadership” to exclude gay youths as well as adults from full participation in its programs.  To sow mistrust while driving LGBTQ youths into hiding accomplishes only the deformation of leadership in demagoguery.
I applaud those who will continue to work from within to transform the BSA into a hospitable, nourishing community for all.  But Scouting taught me that leadership begins with (1) knowing the resources of your group and (2) understanding the group’s needs and characteristics.  My own strengths do not include the patience or tenacity to struggle with this recalcitrant and too often harmful organization from within.  I may, however, have some other small thing to offer.  After the reaffirmation of its exclusionary policy, the BSA needs to face multiple kinds of pressure, both the sustained efforts of committed volunteers and the earnest, heartfelt reproval of former participants like me.  The latter is a need I can easily address.
To renounce my Eagle Scout rank is a formal recognition of the rift that already exists between me and the organization that was so important to me in my youth.  I can still voice support for Scouting as a worldwide movement, but I cannot support the Boy Scouts of America that awarded me this medal.  I look forward to a time when I may in good faith return to contribute to the Scouting programs that did so much for me.
yours in the spirit of Cheerful Service,
David Laurence Gonzalez Rice (formerly David Laurence Rice), Ph.D.
Eagle Scout
Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow
Former Vice-Chief of Na Tsi Hi Lodge 71
Founder’s Award Recipient
Former Junior Course Director of JLT
Senior Patrol Leader and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 134, Monmouth Council BSA

Dear Members of the National Council of the BSA,

I understand that the BSA has reaffirmed its long-standing ban against openly homosexual leaders, youths as well as adults.  I have also recently learned of Maryland Pack 442’s brave stance against LGBTQ discrimination, and the National Capital Area Council’s threat to rescind their membership.  With these matters so powerfully in public view, other Scouts braver and more attentive than I have led the way.  A Scout knows how to recognize and follow good leadership.  I therefore enclose with this letter my Eagle Scout medal and badge, symbols of lifetime membership in Scouting’s brotherhood.

Receiving my Eagle Scout medal remains among the proudest accomplishments of my life, and I relinquish it with great reluctance.  Scouting, for me, was a school of leadership and confidence.  It was often a haven where kids like I and my geeky, misfit, and eccentric friends could thrive and shine.  I remain grateful to Scouting for its many lessons, and I value the opportunities it provides for young people worldwide. 

Unfortunately, Scouting was also in my experience frequently a school of paranoia and hatred, and I witnessed more than once the ill effects of its obtuse enforcement of sexual norms.  I find it particularly perverse that the BSA relies on the category of “leadership” to exclude gay youths as well as adults from full participation in its programs.  To sow mistrust while driving LGBTQ youths into hiding accomplishes only the deformation of leadership in demagoguery.

I applaud those who will continue to work from within to transform the BSA into a hospitable, nourishing community for all.  But Scouting taught me that leadership begins with (1) knowing the resources of your group and (2) understanding the group’s needs and characteristics.  My own strengths do not include the patience or tenacity to struggle with this recalcitrant and too often harmful organization from within.  I may, however, have some other small thing to offer.  After the reaffirmation of its exclusionary policy, the BSA needs to face multiple kinds of pressure, both the sustained efforts of committed volunteers and the earnest, heartfelt reproval of former participants like me.  The latter is a need I can easily address.

To renounce my Eagle Scout rank is a formal recognition of the rift that already exists between me and the organization that was so important to me in my youth.  I can still voice support for Scouting as a worldwide movement, but I cannot support the Boy Scouts of America that awarded me this medal.  I look forward to a time when I may in good faith return to contribute to the Scouting programs that did so much for me.

yours in the spirit of Cheerful Service,

David Laurence Gonzalez Rice (formerly David Laurence Rice), Ph.D.

Eagle Scout

Vigil member of the Order of the Arrow

Former Vice-Chief of Na Tsi Hi Lodge 71

Founder’s Award Recipient

Former Junior Course Director of JLT

Senior Patrol Leader and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 134, Monmouth Council BSA


January192013
Nathaniel P. May
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
7 January 2013 
National Council, Boy Scouts of America

Attn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive

1325 Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015
Dear Mr. Brock and Members of the National Council:
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout was a boyhood dream, starting from the lowest rung possible, Tiger Cubs.  The memories are too many to recount, and the skills I learned are too many to number.  I was a weird kid, preferring piano and HTML over most social situations.  Looking back, I had little in common with most of my troop-mates.  But through the common toil involved in the activities we did, I learned to find bonds even through the differences.
For all the difficulty I had with growing up, I was lucky in at least one regard:  I was straight.  For my peers who had to struggle with a less-accepted sexuality on top of the other pains of individuation, a chance for others to see through their differences would be of even higher value.  But it wasn’t possible with the Scouts.
At the time, this did not affect my dedication to the BSA.  I proudly accepted my Eagle badge, seeing it as a landmark in my transition to manhood.  But in the seven years that followed, this feeling of pride has eroded.
Perhaps, paradoxically, I wouldn’t feel the responsibility to take this action without the influence of the Scouts.  Scouts taught me a sense of citizenship – of acting on principle simply because people who do so govern themselves.  The world I live in is crowded and diverse.  If I’m going to be a citizen, my actions in the world will somehow respect both its crowdedness and its diversity.  An attempt to live in a comfortable, homogeneous world is a rejection of the duty of citizenship.  It is with great pain that I acknowledge that the Boy Scouts of America has neglected this duty. 
It has taken months after the July ruling for me to convince myself to part with my Eagle badge.  A very large part of me would rather not stir up trouble, rather assume that it’s somehow not as bad as it sounds.  But the part of me that Scouts referred to as “honor” sees through this.  I hope some day to be able to return to the organization after it has reconnected with its own principles.  But today, with the utmost respect for the many mentors who helped make my Eagle rank possible, I must give to Caesar what is Caesar’s:  an idea of honor that has been made dishonorable.
Sincerely,
Nathaniel P. May
Formerly of Troop 12
Huntington, West Virginia

Nathaniel P. May

Ann Arbor, MI 48103

7 January 2013

National Council, Boy Scouts of America


Attn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive


1325 Walnut Hill Lane

P.O. Box 152079

Irving, TX 75015

Dear Mr. Brock and Members of the National Council:

Earning the rank of Eagle Scout was a boyhood dream, starting from the lowest rung possible, Tiger Cubs.  The memories are too many to recount, and the skills I learned are too many to number.  I was a weird kid, preferring piano and HTML over most social situations.  Looking back, I had little in common with most of my troop-mates.  But through the common toil involved in the activities we did, I learned to find bonds even through the differences.

For all the difficulty I had with growing up, I was lucky in at least one regard:  I was straight.  For my peers who had to struggle with a less-accepted sexuality on top of the other pains of individuation, a chance for others to see through their differences would be of even higher value.  But it wasn’t possible with the Scouts.

At the time, this did not affect my dedication to the BSA.  I proudly accepted my Eagle badge, seeing it as a landmark in my transition to manhood.  But in the seven years that followed, this feeling of pride has eroded.

Perhaps, paradoxically, I wouldn’t feel the responsibility to take this action without the influence of the Scouts.  Scouts taught me a sense of citizenship – of acting on principle simply because people who do so govern themselves.  The world I live in is crowded and diverse.  If I’m going to be a citizen, my actions in the world will somehow respect both its crowdedness and its diversity.  An attempt to live in a comfortable, homogeneous world is a rejection of the duty of citizenship.  It is with great pain that I acknowledge that the Boy Scouts of America has neglected this duty.

It has taken months after the July ruling for me to convince myself to part with my Eagle badge.  A very large part of me would rather not stir up trouble, rather assume that it’s somehow not as bad as it sounds.  But the part of me that Scouts referred to as “honor” sees through this.  I hope some day to be able to return to the organization after it has reconnected with its own principles.  But today, with the utmost respect for the many mentors who helped make my Eagle rank possible, I must give to Caesar what is Caesar’s:  an idea of honor that has been made dishonorable.

Sincerely,

Nathaniel P. May

Formerly of Troop 12

Huntington, West Virginia


January72013
To the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America,
Due to the Boy Scouts of America’s current discriminatory policies on faith and sexual preference, I cannot honorably remain a member of this organization. It is with a somber heart that I renounce the rank of Eagle Scout that I earned on January 14, 2008.
Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell famously indicated in the first Scout handbook that “[n]o man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.” However, this very same text goes on to advocate the extermination of the gray wolf. My intent is not to write off everything written in the first Scout handbook, but as my example illustrates, the BSA’s inceptive values are by no means an authoritative resource on morality. We as a society must re-evaluate our beliefs, both rationally and critically, in order to continue evolving and refining our standards of moral correctness. Our society’s tendency to unquestioningly accept certain founding principles and traditions has greatly inhibited our ability to engage in constructive discussion regarding the morality or correctness of these beliefs.
As Welsh v. Boy Scouts of America (1993), Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), and more recently, the July 2012 reaffirmation of LGBT exclusion have demonstrated, the BSA remains adamant in its exclusion of homosexuals, agnostics, and atheists. Under freedom of association, the BSA maintains the right to determine its membership base, but this is hardly a rational justification for alienating individuals on the bases of personal belief and sexual preference. Unfortunately, these membership policies falsely presume that heteronormativity and religiosity are required for morally correct behavior.
Instead of serving as a supportive force in the lives of adolescents who are asking themselves several of life’s biggest questions, the BSA has turned its back on the many that do not fit its exclusive membership profile.The organization that professes to foster individuals that are “courteous,” “helpful,” “kind,” and “morally straight,” propagates unrealistic and unhealthy views towards a-religious and sexual minorities. Furthermore, these membership criteria communicate to Scouts that there is something “wrong” with these groups. Sadly, the National Executive Board justifies such discrimination by way of an ad populum argument.
I urge you, the National Executive Board, to consider what I have written. Your inaction on these issues continues to harm a significant segment of today’s impressionable youth. Until your by-laws reflect an ethos befitting the overarching mission of the BSA, I cannot with a clear conscience align myself with an organization that perpetuates these exclusionary policies.
Sincerely,
Douglas Weber
Former Eagle Scout

To the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America,

Due to the Boy Scouts of America’s current discriminatory policies on faith and sexual preference, I cannot honorably remain a member of this organization. It is with a somber heart that I renounce the rank of Eagle Scout that I earned on January 14, 2008.

Scouting founder Lord Baden-Powell famously indicated in the first Scout handbook that “[n]o man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws.” However, this very same text goes on to advocate the extermination of the gray wolf. My intent is not to write off everything written in the first Scout handbook, but as my example illustrates, the BSA’s inceptive values are by no means an authoritative resource on morality. We as a society must re-evaluate our beliefs, both rationally and critically, in order to continue evolving and refining our standards of moral correctness. Our society’s tendency to unquestioningly accept certain founding principles and traditions has greatly inhibited our ability to engage in constructive discussion regarding the morality or correctness of these beliefs.

As Welsh v. Boy Scouts of America (1993)Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000), and more recently, the July 2012 reaffirmation of LGBT exclusion have demonstrated, the BSA remains adamant in its exclusion of homosexuals, agnostics, and atheists. Under freedom of association, the BSA maintains the right to determine its membership base, but this is hardly a rational justification for alienating individuals on the bases of personal belief and sexual preference. Unfortunately, these membership policies falsely presume that heteronormativity and religiosity are required for morally correct behavior.

Instead of serving as a supportive force in the lives of adolescents who are asking themselves several of life’s biggest questions, the BSA has turned its back on the many that do not fit its exclusive membership profile.The organization that professes to foster individuals that are “courteous,” “helpful,” “kind,” and “morally straight,” propagates unrealistic and unhealthy views towards a-religious and sexual minorities. Furthermore, these membership criteria communicate to Scouts that there is something “wrong” with these groups. Sadly, the National Executive Board justifies such discrimination by way of an ad populum argument.

I urge you, the National Executive Board, to consider what I have written. Your inaction on these issues continues to harm a significant segment of today’s impressionable youth. Until your by-laws reflect an ethos befitting the overarching mission of the BSA, I cannot with a clear conscience align myself with an organization that perpetuates these exclusionary policies.

Sincerely,

Douglas Weber

Former Eagle Scout


January32013

Scouting was, without a doubt, the most important institution of my childhood and young adult life. I joined the BSA as a five-year-old tiger cub in 1993 and remained active in the troop until my 18th birthday. My parents poured their support into the troop during this time. My father was a den leader and later a scoutmaster. My mother was an active merit badge counselor, a figurehead at troop fundraisers and scouting events, and remains an important resource for developing community service opportunities for scouts and advising service projects. 

The scout law guided my development from a child into a responsible adult, and continues to represent the character qualities that I value most in myself and others. Our troop activities and the skills I learned as a scout propelled me into my current career in wildlife biology and environmental education. The company I keep and the issues that I now care about are products of my upbringing as a scout. The leaders of Troop 692 during my time as a scout are the types of parents, mentors, and human beings that I strive to become. 

Precisely because of the values instilled in me through scouting, I find the BSA’s July 2012 unanimous decision to uphold its anti-homosexual policy on “nondiscrimination” to be highly discriminatory (as well as archaic, prejudiced, closed-minded, and homophobic). This policy is against the principles of scouting. To quote the 12th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook:  “Ignorance, prejudice, and indifference are enemies of our country too. Do your part to defeat those threats by taking advantage of educational opportunities and defending the rights of others. (p.71)”

Furthermore, here is how the handbook clarifies some of the key tenants of scouting: “Morally straight,” from the Scout Oath: “You should respect and defend the rights of all people.”“Friendly,” from the Scout Law: “He is a brother of other Scouts… and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different than his own.” And importantly, the tenant “Obedient,” from the Scout Law:  “If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he seeks to have them changed in an orderly way.” 

And so I am seeking to have these rules changed in an orderly way. The BSA cannot hold bigoted and ostracizing policies in a nation that increasingly celebrates equality and acceptance of diversity. Scouts will no longer develop into effective leaders of our society if their organization continues to double-down on this old-fashioned prejudice. A leader’s abilities should be judged by merit, deeds, and character. Not by his or her sexual orientation.

In the wake of the July decision, I was pleased that the Green Mountain Council issued their own non-discrimination policy as an attempt to distance itself from the national office’s official stance on homosexuality. But the GMC can only bend the policy so far at risk of losing its charter, so the GMC still prevents avowed homosexuals from being troop leaders. Needless to say, setting such an example in the leadership policies also perpetuates intolerance and insecurity among the youth themselves.
I was aware of this policy while I was a scout, and was able to reconcile this issue until now because my own troop seemed invincible to the controversy. The success of the scouts depended on the peers, mentors, and community surrounding our troop. Decisions made in the higher echelons of the BSA seemed irrelevant to our camping trips, skills lessons, and service projects. 

But recently a member of my own family, who has been actively involved in our troop for 19 years now, was prevented by a representative of the GMC from volunteering with our troop solely because of sexual orientation. This representative was involved in my troop when I was a scout. He was one of my personal mentors and was present at every award ceremony I ever participated in. This level of disrespect to my family and our troop after the immense support we have given scouting is inexcusable. Such an insult affirmed, for me, that no troop or council is immune from prejudice unless the BSA changes its national policy.

All this is to say nothing of the recent discovery of confidential documents hiding 14,000 pages of child abuse allegations. All this is to say even less of the policies preventing those without a religious belief from participating as leaders or scouts. For youth that don’t go to church, or don’t have a supportive family, or don’t have a safe community to grow in, Scouting is often the only place left to find guidance. To refuse membership of any child or leader based on sexuality or personal beliefs defeats the purpose of scouting.
A medal does no good on a shelf. My character, personality, values, and passions are evidence enough of my Eagle Scout achievement. My medal is of much greater use in this way. I hope that my future son will enjoy all the benefits of scouting that I did, but I would not enroll my own children in the BSA as it currently stands. I renounce my Eagle Scout rank in hopes that, in doing so, the organization’s policy will change in time for my children to proudly wear their own scout uniforms. 

Sean Beckett

Scouting was, without a doubt, the most important institution of my childhood and young adult life. I joined the BSA as a five-year-old tiger cub in 1993 and remained active in the troop until my 18th birthday. My parents poured their support into the troop during this time. My father was a den leader and later a scoutmaster. My mother was an active merit badge counselor, a figurehead at troop fundraisers and scouting events, and remains an important resource for developing community service opportunities for scouts and advising service projects.

The scout law guided my development from a child into a responsible adult, and continues to represent the character qualities that I value most in myself and others. Our troop activities and the skills I learned as a scout propelled me into my current career in wildlife biology and environmental education. The company I keep and the issues that I now care about are products of my upbringing as a scout. The leaders of Troop 692 during my time as a scout are the types of parents, mentors, and human beings that I strive to become.

Precisely because of the values instilled in me through scouting, I find the BSA’s July 2012 unanimous decision to uphold its anti-homosexual policy on “nondiscrimination” to be highly discriminatory (as well as archaic, prejudiced, closed-minded, and homophobic). This policy is against the principles of scouting. To quote the 12th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook:  “Ignorance, prejudice, and indifference are enemies of our country too. Do your part to defeat those threats by taking advantage of educational opportunities and defending the rights of others. (p.71)”

Furthermore, here is how the handbook clarifies some of the key tenants of scouting: “Morally straight,” from the Scout Oath: “You should respect and defend the rights of all people.”“Friendly,” from the Scout Law: “He is a brother of other Scouts… and respects them even if their beliefs and customs are different than his own.” And importantly, the tenant “Obedient,” from the Scout Law:  “If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he seeks to have them changed in an orderly way.”

And so I am seeking to have these rules changed in an orderly way. The BSA cannot hold bigoted and ostracizing policies in a nation that increasingly celebrates equality and acceptance of diversity. Scouts will no longer develop into effective leaders of our society if their organization continues to double-down on this old-fashioned prejudice. A leader’s abilities should be judged by merit, deeds, and character. Not by his or her sexual orientation.

In the wake of the July decision, I was pleased that the Green Mountain Council issued their own non-discrimination policy as an attempt to distance itself from the national office’s official stance on homosexuality. But the GMC can only bend the policy so far at risk of losing its charter, so the GMC still prevents avowed homosexuals from being troop leaders. Needless to say, setting such an example in the leadership policies also perpetuates intolerance and insecurity among the youth themselves.
I was aware of this policy while I was a scout, and was able to reconcile this issue until now because my own troop seemed invincible to the controversy. The success of the scouts depended on the peers, mentors, and community surrounding our troop. Decisions made in the higher echelons of the BSA seemed irrelevant to our camping trips, skills lessons, and service projects.

But recently a member of my own family, who has been actively involved in our troop for 19 years now, was prevented by a representative of the GMC from volunteering with our troop solely because of sexual orientation. This representative was involved in my troop when I was a scout. He was one of my personal mentors and was present at every award ceremony I ever participated in. This level of disrespect to my family and our troop after the immense support we have given scouting is inexcusable. Such an insult affirmed, for me, that no troop or council is immune from prejudice unless the BSA changes its national policy.

All this is to say nothing of the recent discovery of confidential documents hiding 14,000 pages of child abuse allegations. All this is to say even less of the policies preventing those without a religious belief from participating as leaders or scouts. For youth that don’t go to church, or don’t have a supportive family, or don’t have a safe community to grow in, Scouting is often the only place left to find guidance. To refuse membership of any child or leader based on sexuality or personal beliefs defeats the purpose of scouting.

A medal does no good on a shelf. My character, personality, values, and passions are evidence enough of my Eagle Scout achievement. My medal is of much greater use in this way. I hope that my future son will enjoy all the benefits of scouting that I did, but I would not enroll my own children in the BSA as it currently stands. I renounce my Eagle Scout rank in hopes that, in doing so, the organization’s policy will change in time for my children to proudly wear their own scout uniforms.


Sean Beckett


December312012
                                                                     Stephen H. Olden
                                                                     Cincinnati, OH 45255
                                                                      December 7, 2012
Boy Scouts of America 
P. O. Box 152079
1325 Walnut Hills Lane
Irving, TX 75015-2079
Dear BSA: 
             Please find the enclosed Eagle Scout medal and Order of the Arrow sash that I am returning to you.  I am resigning my membership in the BSA because it continues to discriminate against gay scouts and gay and lesbian employees, volunteers, and leaders.  
            Growing up, I was blessed with a wonderful family and community in a small town in New Jersey.  I was introduced to scouting through the Cub Scouts - my close friend’s mother organized and ran our den.  In time, I advanced into the Boy Scouts, as a member of Troop 41.  I loved the outdoors, the camping, and summer camp each year up by the Delaware Water Gap –  with forests, canoeing, living in tents, earning merit badges, and meeting other troops from the George Washington Council. 
            But of course, scouting is about much more.  It’s also about those character traits identified in the Scout Oath.  It’s about setting goals and achieving them.  It’s about leadership.  So much of what I learned and experienced in scouting I’ve used throughout my life, including being a Patrol Leader, working while attending law school, raising my children, teaching Sunday school at my church and leading the church’s end-of-the-summer teen camping trips, and leading two practice groups at the Legal Aid Society office I worked at for 30 years. 
            In June 2000, the U. S. Supreme Court overturned a decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court and ruled that you, the BSA, could legally exclude persons who are gay from membership. See BSA, et.al v. Dale.  The very idea that the BSA had this policy is repulsive to me and so many others.  What is even more troubling is that you felt so much antipathy for gay persons that you appealed to the nation’s highest court so that you could keep your discriminatory policy.  The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, sided with you.  How sad that you felt so strongly about shutting out gay persons and making them feel unwanted and unsuitable for all you have to offer. 
            The Dale case got me reflecting on what scouting means and had done for me. I wondered how could I square my beliefs with the hurtful and holier-than-thou discriminatory beliefs of the BSA?   In no way could I accept the arguments you made in court to justify your policy: You contended that you “teach that homosexual conduct is not morally straight,” and you do not see “homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior.”  I couldn’t possibly accept such beliefs. Nevertheless, I know change takes time and it was evident that much of the public, including individuals, businesses, and legislatures, had a more enlightened view and understood how wrong it was to exclude rather than include.  I assumed you, like the Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and other similar youth groups would realize how wrong – and hurtful – your policy was.  But it was me who was wrong. 
            Twelve years later and despite historic advancements by the LGBT community at all levels (individuals, schools, businesses, sports, entertainment, military, and state and federal governments) the BSA just this past July strongly re-affirmed that it will continue to exclude gays.  You remain fixated with your narrow thinking.     
            As scouts, we were shown how to be leaders and were expected to lead.  Yet, here is where the BSA’s failure at leadership – and hypocrisy – are so plainly seen.  We are told that an eleven-person committee studied this issue for two years, but that the status quo will remain.  The two-year study was done in secret.  By a committee whose make-up is a secret.  No announcements, no transparency. No details made public.  And then, on July 17th, the public was told about this study and its result:  scouts who are “open and avowed [homosexuals]” will not be accepted.  Presumably, this is some type of a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy –  just hide who you are or lie about who you are and you’ll be allowed into the BSA.  But why should anyone have to be afraid to say who they are?  Or have to lie?  Or not express themselves?  Why shouldn’t a gay scout be able to be open about who he is?  Or join his school’s GLSEN chapter?  Or walk in a Gay Pride parade?  Why shouldn’t a lesbian mom not be welcomed as a volunteer? 
             You already know about intolerance, bullying, the suicide rate among gay youth, and the difficulties gay teens have growing up.  You had an opportunity to be a shining example of what is good in people and good in organizations: accepting others for who they are and seeing the good – not the imaginary bad – in people.  You could have shown leadership, but chose not to.  In your July 17, 2012 news release you, without citing any specifics or details of the study, noted that your committee felt a majority of BSA members and parents agreed with your decision.  That is not leadership.  Leadership is taking the right position, based on the right principles.  Here inclusion is right, not wrong.  Leadership is not just going with the majority vote.  That’s the easy way out.  
             The Scout Law states that a scout is “friendly,” which the BSA has instructed in scouting materials to mean that a scout “must accept the other person as he is … and respect his differences.”  How hypocritical it is for you to continue to promote just the opposite: a gay scout will be accepted only if he masks his true self.  His differences will never be respected because they cannot be known.
             I can be proud of what I did in the Boy Scouts and the work it took to earn the Eagle medal that roughly 3% of scouts achieve.  But the organization that awarded it to me when I was 15 years old is hurting too many people by its refusal to change.  I hope you, perhaps with new leadership, will soon welcome all people and value inclusion over hurtful beliefs as to who is “morally straight.”  Just because a policy is legal, as yours evidently is, does not mean it is morally right.  I know that someday the BSA will see that.  And I think, deep down, you know that too.    
                                                                        Yours truly, 
                                                                        Stephen H. Olden
                                                                        Troop 41
                                                                        George Washington Council

                                                                     Stephen H. Olden

                                                                     Cincinnati, OH 45255

                                                                      December 7, 2012

Boy Scouts of America

P. O. Box 152079

1325 Walnut Hills Lane

Irving, TX 75015-2079

Dear BSA:

             Please find the enclosed Eagle Scout medal and Order of the Arrow sash that I am returning to you.  I am resigning my membership in the BSA because it continues to discriminate against gay scouts and gay and lesbian employees, volunteers, and leaders. 

            Growing up, I was blessed with a wonderful family and community in a small town in New Jersey.  I was introduced to scouting through the Cub Scouts - my close friend’s mother organized and ran our den.  In time, I advanced into the Boy Scouts, as a member of Troop 41.  I loved the outdoors, the camping, and summer camp each year up by the Delaware Water Gap –  with forests, canoeing, living in tents, earning merit badges, and meeting other troops from the George Washington Council.

            But of course, scouting is about much more.  It’s also about those character traits identified in the Scout Oath.  It’s about setting goals and achieving them.  It’s about leadership.  So much of what I learned and experienced in scouting I’ve used throughout my life, including being a Patrol Leader, working while attending law school, raising my children, teaching Sunday school at my church and leading the church’s end-of-the-summer teen camping trips, and leading two practice groups at the Legal Aid Society office I worked at for 30 years.

            In June 2000, the U. S. Supreme Court overturned a decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court and ruled that you, the BSA, could legally exclude persons who are gay from membership. See BSA, et.al v. Dale.  The very idea that the BSA had this policy is repulsive to me and so many others.  What is even more troubling is that you felt so much antipathy for gay persons that you appealed to the nation’s highest court so that you could keep your discriminatory policy.  The Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, sided with you.  How sad that you felt so strongly about shutting out gay persons and making them feel unwanted and unsuitable for all you have to offer.

            The Dale case got me reflecting on what scouting means and had done for me. I wondered how could I square my beliefs with the hurtful and holier-than-thou discriminatory beliefs of the BSA?   In no way could I accept the arguments you made in court to justify your policy: You contended that you “teach that homosexual conduct is not morally straight,” and you do not see “homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior.”  I couldn’t possibly accept such beliefs. Nevertheless, I know change takes time and it was evident that much of the public, including individuals, businesses, and legislatures, had a more enlightened view and understood how wrong it was to exclude rather than include.  I assumed you, like the Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs, and other similar youth groups would realize how wrong – and hurtful – your policy was.  But it was me who was wrong.

            Twelve years later and despite historic advancements by the LGBT community at all levels (individuals, schools, businesses, sports, entertainment, military, and state and federal governments) the BSA just this past July strongly re-affirmed that it will continue to exclude gays.  You remain fixated with your narrow thinking.    

            As scouts, we were shown how to be leaders and were expected to lead.  Yet, here is where the BSA’s failure at leadership – and hypocrisy – are so plainly seen.  We are told that an eleven-person committee studied this issue for two years, but that the status quo will remain.  The two-year study was done in secret.  By a committee whose make-up is a secret.  No announcements, no transparency. No details made public.  And then, on July 17th, the public was told about this study and its result:  scouts who are “open and avowed [homosexuals]” will not be accepted.  Presumably, this is some type of a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy –  just hide who you are or lie about who you are and you’ll be allowed into the BSA.  But why should anyone have to be afraid to say who they are?  Or have to lie?  Or not express themselves?  Why shouldn’t a gay scout be able to be open about who he is?  Or join his school’s GLSEN chapter?  Or walk in a Gay Pride parade?  Why shouldn’t a lesbian mom not be welcomed as a volunteer?

             You already know about intolerance, bullying, the suicide rate among gay youth, and the difficulties gay teens have growing up.  You had an opportunity to be a shining example of what is good in people and good in organizations: accepting others for who they are and seeing the good – not the imaginary bad – in people.  You could have shown leadership, but chose not to.  In your July 17, 2012 news release you, without citing any specifics or details of the study, noted that your committee felt a majority of BSA members and parents agreed with your decision.  That is not leadership.  Leadership is taking the right position, based on the right principles.  Here inclusion is right, not wrong.  Leadership is not just going with the majority vote.  That’s the easy way out. 

             The Scout Law states that a scout is “friendly,” which the BSA has instructed in scouting materials to mean that a scout “must accept the other person as he is … and respect his differences.”  How hypocritical it is for you to continue to promote just the opposite: a gay scout will be accepted only if he masks his true self.  His differences will never be respected because they cannot be known.

             I can be proud of what I did in the Boy Scouts and the work it took to earn the Eagle medal that roughly 3% of scouts achieve.  But the organization that awarded it to me when I was 15 years old is hurting too many people by its refusal to change.  I hope you, perhaps with new leadership, will soon welcome all people and value inclusion over hurtful beliefs as to who is “morally straight.”  Just because a policy is legal, as yours evidently is, does not mean it is morally right.  I know that someday the BSA will see that.  And I think, deep down, you know that too.   

                                                                        Yours truly,

                                                                        Stephen H. Olden

                                                                        Troop 41

                                                                        George Washington Council


December312012
July 27, 2012
Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive &
BSA National Executive Board 
1325 Walnut Hill Lane 
PO Box 152079 
Irving, Texas 75015-2079 
I am writing to request that you accept this letter as forfeiture of my Eagle Scout award in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of denying membership to gay people of all ages and atheists. 
I earned the Eagle Scout award and was a member of the Order of the Arrow as a young man. In the years since, I served as a volunteer scout leader. I donated and raised money. But I do not wish to be represented as an Eagle Scout, nor do I wish to be associated with the Boys Scouts of America in any way, while these policies are in effect.
As a boy scout I was taught by good people to respect myself and others. I learned to sacrifice and to serve. I learned personal responsibility and global citizenship. I learned to leave the world around me better than I found it. Today I consider forfeiture of my Eagle Scout award a moral imperative consistent with those values. I am reminded of the words of Nazi concentration camp survivor and peace activist, Martin Niemöller, published in 1955:
First they came for the communists,
And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, 
And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me, 
And there was no one left to speak for me.
I am speaking out. These policies are incompatible with your own mission of “helping youth to build a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.” Whether or not intentional, they promote narrow-mindedness and bigotry. You should change them now. 
Regards,
Matt Wilburn

July 27, 2012

Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive &

BSA National Executive Board

1325 Walnut Hill Lane

PO Box 152079 

Irving, Texas 75015-2079 

I am writing to request that you accept this letter as forfeiture of my Eagle Scout award in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s policy of denying membership to gay people of all ages and atheists.

I earned the Eagle Scout award and was a member of the Order of the Arrow as a young man. In the years since, I served as a volunteer scout leader. I donated and raised money. But I do not wish to be represented as an Eagle Scout, nor do I wish to be associated with the Boys Scouts of America in any way, while these policies are in effect.

As a boy scout I was taught by good people to respect myself and others. I learned to sacrifice and to serve. I learned personal responsibility and global citizenship. I learned to leave the world around me better than I found it. Today I consider forfeiture of my Eagle Scout award a moral imperative consistent with those values. I am reminded of the words of Nazi concentration camp survivor and peace activist, Martin Niemöller, published in 1955:

First they came for the communists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

And I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for me,

And there was no one left to speak for me.

I am speaking out. These policies are incompatible with your own mission of “helping youth to build a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.” Whether or not intentional, they promote narrow-mindedness and bigotry. You should change them now.

Regards,

Matt Wilburn


December312012
December 17, 2012
Mr. Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive
The Boy Scouts of America
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, TX  75015
Dear Mr. Brock and the BSA National Executive Board ~
My name is Chris Richards, and I’m an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member. I earned those awards at the end of a 7-year association with one of the most prestigious organizations in Wisconsin scouting history, Troop 861 in Sheboygan, WI.
It is with great sadness that I write to you today to return my Eagle Award to you and to renounce my 31-year association with the Boy Scouts of America.
I’ll be honest and say I haven’t thought about the Boy Scouts in a while. I guess that’s because the important things I learned in my years of development in your programs aren’t freestanding things; they are woven into my daily life and my moral fabric. And that’s exactly why this decision is so simple to make. In particular, the Boy Scouts helped me refine my perspective of right and wrong — and the wrongness of your policies towards openly homosexual people in your organization is crystal clear to me.
I’ve read dozens of collected letters from Eagle Award recipients who’ve returned their badges before me. I write as a profession, and reading these gentlemen’s letters made me want to send my award along without any note at all. That should tell you a lot about these people. These are clearly thought-out, passionate, reasoned letters full of empathy and grace. These are not folks with nothing better to do than be contrary.
As I join them, let us be clear in our message to you. The Boy Scouts of America are making a stand on what will no doubt be the wrong side of history on this issue. Until you reverse your policy of discrimination towards openly homosexual youth, men and women, I no longer want to be associated with the organization in any way. I have removed references to the BSA/Eagle on my résumé, LinkedIn, biographies and in other places I’ve proudly hung the honor for more than 20 years.
Someday I hope to have a son of my own. Maybe I’ll show him some of the things I learned in my years in the Boy Scouts. Perhaps we’ll build a fort in the woods behind the house. Or bake Brown Betty in a Dutch oven underground. What I am certain of is that I’ll teach him something that’s more important than all those things: That you treat everybody the same. Everybody.
Respectfully,
Chris Richards
Former Eagle Scout

December 17, 2012

Mr. Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive

The Boy Scouts of America

1325 West Walnut Hill Lane

Irving, TX  75015

Dear Mr. Brock and the BSA National Executive Board ~

My name is Chris Richards, and I’m an Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow member. I earned those awards at the end of a 7-year association with one of the most prestigious organizations in Wisconsin scouting history, Troop 861 in Sheboygan, WI.

It is with great sadness that I write to you today to return my Eagle Award to you and to renounce my 31-year association with the Boy Scouts of America.

I’ll be honest and say I haven’t thought about the Boy Scouts in a while. I guess that’s because the important things I learned in my years of development in your programs aren’t freestanding things; they are woven into my daily life and my moral fabric. And that’s exactly why this decision is so simple to make. In particular, the Boy Scouts helped me refine my perspective of right and wrong — and the wrongness of your policies towards openly homosexual people in your organization is crystal clear to me.

I’ve read dozens of collected letters from Eagle Award recipients who’ve returned their badges before me. I write as a profession, and reading these gentlemen’s letters made me want to send my award along without any note at all. That should tell you a lot about these people. These are clearly thought-out, passionate, reasoned letters full of empathy and grace. These are not folks with nothing better to do than be contrary.

As I join them, let us be clear in our message to you. The Boy Scouts of America are making a stand on what will no doubt be the wrong side of history on this issue. Until you reverse your policy of discrimination towards openly homosexual youth, men and women, I no longer want to be associated with the organization in any way. I have removed references to the BSA/Eagle on my résumé, LinkedIn, biographies and in other places I’ve proudly hung the honor for more than 20 years.

Someday I hope to have a son of my own. Maybe I’ll show him some of the things I learned in my years in the Boy Scouts. Perhaps we’ll build a fort in the woods behind the house. Or bake Brown Betty in a Dutch oven underground. What I am certain of is that I’ll teach him something that’s more important than all those things: That you treat everybody the same. Everybody.

Respectfully,

Chris Richards

Former Eagle Scout


December142012
To Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive, and the BSA National Executive Board:  I stand with my fellow Eagles in returning this medal, with the aim of demonstratively putting a face to the growing number of Americans within your ranks demanding an end to the BSA’s discriminatory approach to its membership. It’s been almost 20 years since I stood with three others in my troop in recognition of our highest achievement as Scouts; though I have been planning to send back my Eagle medal for months now, it was only recently that I was able to visit my boyhood home to recover it and rediscover the wealth of strong memories that I hold of my Scouting years, and of my Eagle project in particular.  The box in which I was storing the medal is full of the documentation, photographs, and correspondence surrounding the project, and the subsequent congratulatory notes that I received from around the country. This was hardly a solitary endeavor: my father, a former Scout during his formative years in Hong Kong (where the organizations of both his era, the Scout Association, and of the current one, the Scout Association of Hong Kong, admit and advocate for members of all creeds) was a leader from my first days as a Bobcat who accompanied us on many a camping trip or military visit; my mother, in addition to expertly sewing on the badges for my entire Scouting career, did all of the initial legwork to set up meetings for me with a local government liaison to plan the project; and my sister was there pulling weeds and re-staining tables along with many of my other friends from outside Scouting at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park on our project days. I’m still immensely proud of the turnout and final result— initially the beach trail overgrowth seemed insurmountable, and the number of faded tables on site was daunting, but we made short work of both over the weekends. It would be grossly gauche for me to claim even half of the credit for this service, and it stands for how inclusive Scouting is in my experience.  Frankly, it’s embarrassingly appalling that it’s been over 10 years since the World Organisation of the Scout Movement resolved to "not consider homosexuality a reason for any kind of discrimination within or outside Scouting", and appealed to you as fellow human beings to reconsider your disturbingly intransigent view on the matter. As citizens of a global society, you are denying a rich set of challenging experiences and nurturing fellowships not just from those you are excluding from your resources, but also to current Scouts in America who don’t have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside their full complement of friends and family.  It is not as easy as I initially thought it would be to give up this medal— as I stated earlier, I see it as an achievement shared with so many others in my life, yet I could not consider myself a good Scout if I forsook this chance to send you a clear and considered message. Perhaps it’s meant to be, particularly by your standards, as the BSA continues to exclude atheists and agnostics, even those with a deep sense of spirituality and commitment. Indeed, I now classify myself as an atheist— I will always value my Catholic upbringing as part of my cultural makeup, and am continually enriched by its narrative themes, as well as by those found in other religions and cultures, and have no doubt that someone like me could serve as a valued and dedicated part of the Scouting community. I hope to one day be fortunate enough to have children that I can bring into that community as openly as I could most anywhere else in the world, and inspire them as much as my father, mother, and sister inspired me on my journey towards becoming an Eagle.  Until then, I thank you, both for my irreplaceable memories in uniform, and for your consideration in this weighty discussion. I remain  Yours in Scouting,  Aaron Luk Troop 878 Pack 1165

To Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive, and the BSA National Executive Board:

I stand with my fellow Eagles in returning this medal, with the aim of demonstratively putting a face to the growing number of Americans within your ranks demanding an end to the BSA’s discriminatory approach to its membership. It’s been almost 20 years since I stood with three others in my troop in recognition of our highest achievement as Scouts; though I have been planning to send back my Eagle medal for months now, it was only recently that I was able to visit my boyhood home to recover it and rediscover the wealth of strong memories that I hold of my Scouting years, and of my Eagle project in particular.

The box in which I was storing the medal is full of the documentation, photographs, and correspondence surrounding the project, and the subsequent congratulatory notes that I received from around the country. This was hardly a solitary endeavor: my father, a former Scout during his formative years in Hong Kong (where the organizations of both his era, the Scout Association, and of the current one, the Scout Association of Hong Kong, admit and advocate for members of all creeds) was a leader from my first days as a Bobcat who accompanied us on many a camping trip or military visit; my mother, in addition to expertly sewing on the badges for my entire Scouting career, did all of the initial legwork to set up meetings for me with a local government liaison to plan the project; and my sister was there pulling weeds and re-staining tables along with many of my other friends from outside Scouting at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park on our project days. I’m still immensely proud of the turnout and final result— initially the beach trail overgrowth seemed insurmountable, and the number of faded tables on site was daunting, but we made short work of both over the weekends. It would be grossly gauche for me to claim even half of the credit for this service, and it stands for how inclusive Scouting is in my experience.

Frankly, it’s embarrassingly appalling that it’s been over 10 years since the World Organisation of the Scout Movement resolved to "not consider homosexuality a reason for any kind of discrimination within or outside Scouting", and appealed to you as fellow human beings to reconsider your disturbingly intransigent view on the matter. As citizens of a global society, you are denying a rich set of challenging experiences and nurturing fellowships not just from those you are excluding from your resources, but also to current Scouts in America who don’t have the opportunity to learn and grow alongside their full complement of friends and family.

It is not as easy as I initially thought it would be to give up this medal— as I stated earlier, I see it as an achievement shared with so many others in my life, yet I could not consider myself a good Scout if I forsook this chance to send you a clear and considered message. Perhaps it’s meant to be, particularly by your standards, as the BSA continues to exclude atheists and agnostics, even those with a deep sense of spirituality and commitment. Indeed, I now classify myself as an atheist— I will always value my Catholic upbringing as part of my cultural makeup, and am continually enriched by its narrative themes, as well as by those found in other religions and cultures, and have no doubt that someone like me could serve as a valued and dedicated part of the Scouting community. I hope to one day be fortunate enough to have children that I can bring into that community as openly as I could most anywhere else in the world, and inspire them as much as my father, mother, and sister inspired me on my journey towards becoming an Eagle.

Until then, I thank you, both for my irreplaceable memories in uniform, and for your consideration in this weighty discussion. I remain

Yours in Scouting,

Aaron Luk
Troop 878
Pack 1165


December142012
I decided to return my Eagle medal and wrote a letter to accompany it. To show his support, my dad (who still helps my old Troop as an Assistant Scoutmaster) gave me his uniform shirt to send in along with it and wrote an amazing letter which I include below as well. I couldn’t be more grateful to my incredible family (my little brother also intends to return his Eagle award!). Here’s my letter:
December 11, 2012
National Council, Boy Scouts of AmericaAttn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive1325 Walnut Hill LaneP.O. Box 152079Irving, TX 75015
Dear Mr. Brock and Esteemed Members of the National Council,
Thank you for your service to and on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America. I had the privilege of participating in your organization throughout my childhood, and I owe you and your predecessors a great deal of gratitude for my experiences therein. My name is Sean and, until today, I was a gay Eagle Scout.
From second grade through senior year of high school, I enjoyed hundreds of meetings and trips with my Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop. Those young men and their families have served as an incredible group of friends and role models, teaching me practical skills as well as values I cherish, including personal honor, civic engagement, and appreciation for the natural world. I remember my time as a Scout fondly, I’m proud that my family remains close with other families we met through Scouting, and I certainly appreciate what you’ve done to enable such meaningful connections.
Most of all, I’m grateful to the BSA for all the time it helped my family spend together. From canoeing trips (where my Dad and my little brother made sure everyone had fun, no matter how many people they had to splash) to Troop meetings (where Mom tried week after week to get all the guys in my patrol to please keep track of our lunch money for the Personal Management merit badge), Scouting provided countless opportunities for the four of us to come together, bond as a family, and give back to our Troop community. I’m proud to say that my parents both still make time to volunteer with the Troop, providing valuable training and leadership.
In over a decade of Scouting, one of my very proudest moments was giving my parents their pins—including Dad’s mentor pin—while my brother looked on as master of ceremonies at my Eagle ceremony. It wasn’t until a few months after that ceremony, during a difficult conversation with an incredible friend, that I admitted to myself that I was probably gay. It’s a testament to the strength of my family that I immediately turned to my parents for help and advice. As I cried at our kitchen table and heard them say that of course they still loved me, and that everything was going to be okay in our family no matter what my orientation turned out to be, my relief was overwhelming. In the years since then, they and my brother have worked hard to overcome their own misgivings regarding homosexuality and become fierce supporters, all while showing more love than I could ever ask for.
I won’t pretend that it was fun for me to agonize over every smallest stirring of a same-sex crush—even while trying to ignore and suppress it—because I thought it would destroy my hopes for a meaningful career and a happy family. I certainly didn’t enjoy confessing to my friends that I’d been deceiving them, even though I could honestly say that I’d been deceiving myself as well. But the sad fact is that, compared to most lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) kids, I’ve had a remarkably easy time coming out. In less tolerant homes and communities, wildly disproportionate numbers of such youths become victims of violence, homelessness, depression, and suicide. The BSA’s homophobic policies—to which you have once again committed yourselves—help perpetuate that deadly culture of intolerance.
Of course I’m well aware of the case in which a narrow majority of Supreme Court Justices declared that your policies count as constitutionally protected expressive association. But before you doubled down this past July, I hoped that in the twelve years since Boy Scouts v. Dale you might have come to recognize the harm that your discrimination nevertheless inflicts on LGBT people—be they closeted Scouts and Scouters, would-be participants who are openly LGBT, or simply unaffiliated Americans who cringe to see their neighbors’ ignorance enshrined in the policies of one of our nation’s largest and most beloved civic organizations. I hoped that, at the very least, you would speak out and differentiate your position from that of hateful pundits who insist that loving gay families are no more “morally straight” than drug addicts or pedophiles.
Instead, you’ve once again prioritized a futile effort to protect straight Scouts from the very notionof homosexuality. You’ve decided that letting some misguided parents and religious leaders spread their own views unchallenged is so important that you can’t risk allowing real gay people to coexist as counterexamples. You’ve even kept individual Councils from adopting more inclusive policies in keeping with their own beliefs, a clear violation of that same principle of honoring parents’ and faith communities’ moral self-determination. The inescapable conclusion is that either you remain under the influence of harmful and outdated misconceptions regarding LGBT people or, worse, you recognize them as false and dangerous but lack the courage to reject them.
I hope that this letter, or one of the many others like it submitted by my fellow former Scouts, will convince you of the wrong-headedness of your current discriminatory practices. In the meantime, however, I will not cling to an award that you insist I don’t deserve. Enclosed are my Eagle Scout certificate, patch, and medal.
Although your recent actions have provoked justifiable anger among gay people and our loved ones, I hope you will not take this letter as a simple condemnation of the BSA. Someday I intend to raise children and provide them with as much support, stability, and love as my family has given me (though I recognize that that will be an enormous undertaking). I hope that by then you will have changed your policies and that any sons I have will be Boy Scouts, because I know first-hand how much your organization has to offer. But I worry that if you fail to accommodate LGBT people, the once-proud BSA will soon fade into irrelevance among the ever-growing number of Americans who recognize the harm your policies inflict on us. Honestly, we don’t want much: as proud as I am of the culture that LGBT people have created, I don’t think Troops have to march in Pride parades or offer LGBT History merit badge courses. All I ask is that you stop punishing kids and parents brave enough to be honest about their innate identities.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope you will find it useful as you continue to work to benefit the amazing national community of Scouts and Scouters.
Sincerely,
Sean Cuddihy
Enclosures
Here’s Dad’s letter:
December 11, 2012
National Council, Boy Scouts of AmericaAttn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive1325 Walnut Hill LaneP.O. Box 152079Irving, TX 75038
Dear Mr. Brock and Esteemed Members of the National Council,
Thomas Jefferson is one of my heroes. My Father, my wife and I attended the University that he founded, and I often think about what he might do in difficult situations. Both as our nation’s third President and in managing his private life, Jefferson faced many monumental challenges, and in 1820 he wrote a letter to a colleague about one of the defining struggles of his life, saying “But as it is we have the wolf by the ears, we can neither hold him, nor let him safely go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.”
For over a decade now, the Boy Scouts of America have been at the center of a conflict that seemed to pit justice, in the form of non-discrimination, against preservation of the institution’s values. But now we, as leaders, must take responsibility to end the unfair treatment of people based on their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Specifically, we must recognize that the biases many of us, including me, held against gay people for many years with the intent ‘to protect our boys’ were actually based on ignorance. Today, with better information, we understand that there is no real self-preservation value in the Boy Scouts of America’s intolerant policies, and that a behavior of intolerance to others different than you is harmful to everybody.
I believe with 100 percent confidence that the Boy Scouts of America will one day stop discriminating. Having said that, the questions are: Will the leadership of Boy Scouts of America, which has been a significant part of my life for fifteen years, take the necessary action to be part of the evolution of justice? Or will the Boy Scouts of America continue to be the only nationally and once greatly respected organization that can’t evolve itself in a reasonable time frame to eliminate discrimination?
For me it is personal. My Dad is a proud Life Scout; my Mom was an enthusiastic Den Mom. I joined Scouting over forty-five years ago. My wife and I are the proud parents of two Eagle Scouts and our whole family has been deeply engaged with the Boy Scouts of America. There is no measure to the joy and fulfillment that the Scouting Program has enabled for my family over many years and the lifetime friendships that have resulted. My wife and I still volunteer as Boy Scouts of America leaders, teaching merit badges, going camping, helping and shaping future leaders of America, and we know that this Program has exemplary benefits to both its participants and volunteers.
Both my sons gained everything one could ever expect from the Scout Program including great leadership skills, earning valuable merit badges, and making lifelong friends. I could not be prouder. They both rightfully earned their Eagle badges. However, I want you to know that both my sons now want to return their Eagle awards and I have advised them against it. As the eternal optimist, I told them I believe that it is self-evident that the Boy Scouts of America will do the right thing and eliminate their discriminatory policies sooner rather than later. While there is abundant evidence that the world is becoming a more tolerant place, frankly, there is no evidence to support my optimism that the Boy Scouts of America is even moving in the right direction. Specifically, my younger son, who is now also an Assistant Scoutmaster, wanted to send his Eagle badge to a young man who was recently denied his Eagle award by the Boy Scouts of America for being gay. Other Eagle Scouts sent their Eagle awards to the discriminated against Scout first, so my son still has his award, but I am proud of his generosity of spirit and believe his selflessness matches the stated values of the Boy Scouts of America.
My older son is arguably one of Scouting’s best Eagle Scouts, and his accomplishments are astonishing, not just as a proud parent but by any standards. He lives by and meets the intent of the Scout Oath and Scout Law better than any person I know, and everybody that knows him likes him and respects him. He is humble and I assure you that you would like him too. If I ever was stuck on a deserted island; I would want him to be with me for his integrity, generosity and skills as an outdoorsman. Among his many awards include being the valedictorian of his High School and graduating with honors from Harvard. He is everything you could possibly dream of as a son and an Eagle Scout. At the risk of sounding arrogant, as he heads off for law school next year, I will tell you that it is not out of the realm of possibilities for him to be President of our country one day. He is an Eagle Scout that sets an example for all of us to exemplify and you should be proud of him as a person. Oh, by the way, he is gay. I can tell you that you are just wrong to believe he is not worthy and not representative of what the Boy Scouts of America claims to stand for.
Like the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, Thomas Jefferson also struggled with discrimination being wrong, but he did point us in the right direction when he wrote that “all men are created equal.” I recognize that you have the right to discriminate in a private organization but that does not make it the ‘right thing to do’. Today, as we have the wolf by the ears, it is clear what we must do. It is time for us to admit that our prejudices and feelings of discomfort, that so many of us held in the past that were based on ignorance, are wrong and harmful. It is time to lead the world with actions that enable justice to prevail over a once misunderstood threat of self-preservation. It is time for us to stop being hypocritical of the Scout Oath that claims we are morally straight. It is time to improve our outdated policies that discriminate. It is time for us, most importantly, to stop sending the message to our young people and the world that it is okay to discriminate and that someone is not good enough to be in the Boy Scouts of America because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
I am deeply saddened and disappointed by your continued hypocrisy and at your refusal to stop discrimination. My older son has written you a letter, a far more eloquent one than mine, that returns his well-deserved Eagle badge to you. I have asked him not to send it back because he earned it and I don’t think it will change your way of thinking. However, he is doing it on principle and I will support him. To his credit, he is not angry at you; he is a far better man than me.
Even though by now you have probably heard thousands of stories like mine, I still feel obligated to tell you that I am ashamed of the Boy Scouts of America leadership. The Boy Scouts of America leadership blatantly discriminates against deserving people, and refuses to evolve with the rest of the world, including the policies of the President of the United States, the U.S. military, and leading American companies. As a long standing Boy Scouts of America leader and a responsible citizen, I am asking you to change your policy that discriminates, teaches intolerance and harms everyone involved.
I can no longer wear the Boy Scouts of America uniform while the Boy Scouts of America leadership continues to discriminate. I am returning my Boy Scouts of America shirt, which is not decorated with many colorful patches and awards, but rather eight simple pins, symmetrically arranged on the pockets, which are dear to my heart:·         Two Eagle Scout Mentor pins·         Two Eagle Scout Dad pins·         Two United States Presidential Volunteer pins·         Two Eagle pins presented to me for my support of another less fortunate troop of underprivileged boys that are wards of the County.
Please respectfully care for this treasured and symbolic possession of mine until you evolve your policies and stop wrongful discrimination. I am including the cost for you to mail it back to me in the near future as an optimistic gesture that I will be able to wear my Boy Scouts of America shirt proudly again. More importantly, I ask you to take a speedy course of action ‘to do the right thing.’
Sincerely,
Glenn Cuddihy
Enclosures
cc:   President Barack Obama        The Honorable Bill Nelson, United States Senate        The Honorable Marco Rubio, United States Senate        The Honorable Alan Grayson, United States House of Representatives
Sorry for such a long post, but thanks for reading!

I decided to return my Eagle medal and wrote a letter to accompany it. To show his support, my dad (who still helps my old Troop as an Assistant Scoutmaster) gave me his uniform shirt to send in along with it and wrote an amazing letter which I include below as well. I couldn’t be more grateful to my incredible family (my little brother also intends to return his Eagle award!). Here’s my letter:

December 11, 2012

National Council, Boy Scouts of America
Attn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015

Dear Mr. Brock and Esteemed Members of the National Council,

Thank you for your service to and on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America. I had the privilege of participating in your organization throughout my childhood, and I owe you and your predecessors a great deal of gratitude for my experiences therein. My name is Sean and, until today, I was a gay Eagle Scout.

From second grade through senior year of high school, I enjoyed hundreds of meetings and trips with my Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop. Those young men and their families have served as an incredible group of friends and role models, teaching me practical skills as well as values I cherish, including personal honor, civic engagement, and appreciation for the natural world. I remember my time as a Scout fondly, I’m proud that my family remains close with other families we met through Scouting, and I certainly appreciate what you’ve done to enable such meaningful connections.

Most of all, I’m grateful to the BSA for all the time it helped my family spend together. From canoeing trips (where my Dad and my little brother made sure everyone had fun, no matter how many people they had to splash) to Troop meetings (where Mom tried week after week to get all the guys in my patrol to please keep track of our lunch money for the Personal Management merit badge), Scouting provided countless opportunities for the four of us to come together, bond as a family, and give back to our Troop community. I’m proud to say that my parents both still make time to volunteer with the Troop, providing valuable training and leadership.

In over a decade of Scouting, one of my very proudest moments was giving my parents their pins—including Dad’s mentor pin—while my brother looked on as master of ceremonies at my Eagle ceremony. It wasn’t until a few months after that ceremony, during a difficult conversation with an incredible friend, that I admitted to myself that I was probably gay. It’s a testament to the strength of my family that I immediately turned to my parents for help and advice. As I cried at our kitchen table and heard them say that of course they still loved me, and that everything was going to be okay in our family no matter what my orientation turned out to be, my relief was overwhelming. In the years since then, they and my brother have worked hard to overcome their own misgivings regarding homosexuality and become fierce supporters, all while showing more love than I could ever ask for.

I won’t pretend that it was fun for me to agonize over every smallest stirring of a same-sex crush—even while trying to ignore and suppress it—because I thought it would destroy my hopes for a meaningful career and a happy family. I certainly didn’t enjoy confessing to my friends that I’d been deceiving them, even though I could honestly say that I’d been deceiving myself as well. But the sad fact is that, compared to most lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) kids, I’ve had a remarkably easy time coming out. In less tolerant homes and communities, wildly disproportionate numbers of such youths become victims of violence, homelessness, depression, and suicide. The BSA’s homophobic policies—to which you have once again committed yourselves—help perpetuate that deadly culture of intolerance.

Of course I’m well aware of the case in which a narrow majority of Supreme Court Justices declared that your policies count as constitutionally protected expressive association. But before you doubled down this past July, I hoped that in the twelve years since Boy Scouts v. Dale you might have come to recognize the harm that your discrimination nevertheless inflicts on LGBT people—be they closeted Scouts and Scouters, would-be participants who are openly LGBT, or simply unaffiliated Americans who cringe to see their neighbors’ ignorance enshrined in the policies of one of our nation’s largest and most beloved civic organizations. I hoped that, at the very least, you would speak out and differentiate your position from that of hateful pundits who insist that loving gay families are no more “morally straight” than drug addicts or pedophiles.

Instead, you’ve once again prioritized a futile effort to protect straight Scouts from the very notionof homosexuality. You’ve decided that letting some misguided parents and religious leaders spread their own views unchallenged is so important that you can’t risk allowing real gay people to coexist as counterexamples. You’ve even kept individual Councils from adopting more inclusive policies in keeping with their own beliefs, a clear violation of that same principle of honoring parents’ and faith communities’ moral self-determination. The inescapable conclusion is that either you remain under the influence of harmful and outdated misconceptions regarding LGBT people or, worse, you recognize them as false and dangerous but lack the courage to reject them.

I hope that this letter, or one of the many others like it submitted by my fellow former Scouts, will convince you of the wrong-headedness of your current discriminatory practices. In the meantime, however, I will not cling to an award that you insist I don’t deserve. Enclosed are my Eagle Scout certificate, patch, and medal.

Although your recent actions have provoked justifiable anger among gay people and our loved ones, I hope you will not take this letter as a simple condemnation of the BSA. Someday I intend to raise children and provide them with as much support, stability, and love as my family has given me (though I recognize that that will be an enormous undertaking). I hope that by then you will have changed your policies and that any sons I have will be Boy Scouts, because I know first-hand how much your organization has to offer. But I worry that if you fail to accommodate LGBT people, the once-proud BSA will soon fade into irrelevance among the ever-growing number of Americans who recognize the harm your policies inflict on us. Honestly, we don’t want much: as proud as I am of the culture that LGBT people have created, I don’t think Troops have to march in Pride parades or offer LGBT History merit badge courses. All I ask is that you stop punishing kids and parents brave enough to be honest about their innate identities.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. I hope you will find it useful as you continue to work to benefit the amazing national community of Scouts and Scouters.

Sincerely,


Sean Cuddihy

Enclosures


Here’s Dad’s letter:


December 11, 2012

National Council, Boy Scouts of America
Attn: Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
P.O. Box 152079
Irving, TX 75038

Dear Mr. Brock and Esteemed Members of the National Council,

Thomas Jefferson is one of my heroes. My Father, my wife and I attended the University that he founded, and I often think about what he might do in difficult situations. Both as our nation’s third President and in managing his private life, Jefferson faced many monumental challenges, and in 1820 he wrote a letter to a colleague about one of the defining struggles of his life, saying “But as it is we have the wolf by the ears, we can neither hold him, nor let him safely go. Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.”

For over a decade now, the Boy Scouts of America have been at the center of a conflict that seemed to pit justice, in the form of non-discrimination, against preservation of the institution’s values. But now we, as leaders, must take responsibility to end the unfair treatment of people based on their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Specifically, we must recognize that the biases many of us, including me, held against gay people for many years with the intent ‘to protect our boys’ were actually based on ignorance. Today, with better information, we understand that there is no real self-preservation value in the Boy Scouts of America’s intolerant policies, and that a behavior of intolerance to others different than you is harmful to everybody.

I believe with 100 percent confidence that the Boy Scouts of America will one day stop discriminating. Having said that, the questions are: Will the leadership of Boy Scouts of America, which has been a significant part of my life for fifteen years, take the necessary action to be part of the evolution of justice? Or will the Boy Scouts of America continue to be the only nationally and once greatly respected organization that can’t evolve itself in a reasonable time frame to eliminate discrimination?

For me it is personal. My Dad is a proud Life Scout; my Mom was an enthusiastic Den Mom. I joined Scouting over forty-five years ago. My wife and I are the proud parents of two Eagle Scouts and our whole family has been deeply engaged with the Boy Scouts of America. There is no measure to the joy and fulfillment that the Scouting Program has enabled for my family over many years and the lifetime friendships that have resulted. My wife and I still volunteer as Boy Scouts of America leaders, teaching merit badges, going camping, helping and shaping future leaders of America, and we know that this Program has exemplary benefits to both its participants and volunteers.

Both my sons gained everything one could ever expect from the Scout Program including great leadership skills, earning valuable merit badges, and making lifelong friends. I could not be prouder. They both rightfully earned their Eagle badges. However, I want you to know that both my sons now want to return their Eagle awards and I have advised them against it. As the eternal optimist, I told them I believe that it is self-evident that the Boy Scouts of America will do the right thing and eliminate their discriminatory policies sooner rather than later. While there is abundant evidence that the world is becoming a more tolerant place, frankly, there is no evidence to support my optimism that the Boy Scouts of America is even moving in the right direction. Specifically, my younger son, who is now also an Assistant Scoutmaster, wanted to send his Eagle badge to a young man who was recently denied his Eagle award by the Boy Scouts of America for being gay. Other Eagle Scouts sent their Eagle awards to the discriminated against Scout first, so my son still has his award, but I am proud of his generosity of spirit and believe his selflessness matches the stated values of the Boy Scouts of America.

My older son is arguably one of Scouting’s best Eagle Scouts, and his accomplishments are astonishing, not just as a proud parent but by any standards. He lives by and meets the intent of the Scout Oath and Scout Law better than any person I know, and everybody that knows him likes him and respects him. He is humble and I assure you that you would like him too. If I ever was stuck on a deserted island; I would want him to be with me for his integrity, generosity and skills as an outdoorsman. Among his many awards include being the valedictorian of his High School and graduating with honors from Harvard. He is everything you could possibly dream of as a son and an Eagle Scout. At the risk of sounding arrogant, as he heads off for law school next year, I will tell you that it is not out of the realm of possibilities for him to be President of our country one day. He is an Eagle Scout that sets an example for all of us to exemplify and you should be proud of him as a person. Oh, by the way, he is gay. I can tell you that you are just wrong to believe he is not worthy and not representative of what the Boy Scouts of America claims to stand for.

Like the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, Thomas Jefferson also struggled with discrimination being wrong, but he did point us in the right direction when he wrote that “all men are created equal.” I recognize that you have the right to discriminate in a private organization but that does not make it the ‘right thing to do’. Today, as we have the wolf by the ears, it is clear what we must do. It is time for us to admit that our prejudices and feelings of discomfort, that so many of us held in the past that were based on ignorance, are wrong and harmful. It is time to lead the world with actions that enable justice to prevail over a once misunderstood threat of self-preservation. It is time for us to stop being hypocritical of the Scout Oath that claims we are morally straight. It is time to improve our outdated policies that discriminate. It is time for us, most importantly, to stop sending the message to our young people and the world that it is okay to discriminate and that someone is not good enough to be in the Boy Scouts of America because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

I am deeply saddened and disappointed by your continued hypocrisy and at your refusal to stop discrimination. My older son has written you a letter, a far more eloquent one than mine, that returns his well-deserved Eagle badge to you. I have asked him not to send it back because he earned it and I don’t think it will change your way of thinking. However, he is doing it on principle and I will support him. To his credit, he is not angry at you; he is a far better man than me.

Even though by now you have probably heard thousands of stories like mine, I still feel obligated to tell you that I am ashamed of the Boy Scouts of America leadership. The Boy Scouts of America leadership blatantly discriminates against deserving people, and refuses to evolve with the rest of the world, including the policies of the President of the United States, the U.S. military, and leading American companies. As a long standing Boy Scouts of America leader and a responsible citizen, I am asking you to change your policy that discriminates, teaches intolerance and harms everyone involved.

I can no longer wear the Boy Scouts of America uniform while the Boy Scouts of America leadership continues to discriminate. I am returning my Boy Scouts of America shirt, which is not decorated with many colorful patches and awards, but rather eight simple pins, symmetrically arranged on the pockets, which are dear to my heart:
·         Two Eagle Scout Mentor pins
·         Two Eagle Scout Dad pins
·         Two United States Presidential Volunteer pins
·         Two Eagle pins presented to me for my support of another less fortunate troop of underprivileged boys that are wards of the County.

Please respectfully care for this treasured and symbolic possession of mine until you evolve your policies and stop wrongful discrimination. I am including the cost for you to mail it back to me in the near future as an optimistic gesture that I will be able to wear my Boy Scouts of America shirt proudly again. More importantly, I ask you to take a speedy course of action ‘to do the right thing.’

Sincerely,


Glenn Cuddihy

Enclosures

cc:   President Barack Obama
        The Honorable Bill Nelson, United States Senate
        The Honorable Marco Rubio, United States Senate
        The Honorable Alan Grayson, United States House of Representatives

Sorry for such a long post, but thanks for reading!


November272012
Mr. Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive1325 West Walnut Hill LanePO Box 15207Irving, Texas 75015-2079
Dear Mr. Brock and the Executive Board of the BSA:
From my very first moment as a Tiger Cub I dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout. The next ten years of work toward that goal taught me patience, perseverance, and of course the twelve character traits that we all can cite from memory. When I finally earned Scouting’s highest honor I knew that I would be proud of my accomplishment forever.
But my time in the Scouting also taught me to use my conscience. As I became aware of BSA’s discriminatory policies toward gays, I could not ignore the hypocrisy of an organization that claimed to be for all boys. Less than a year after becoming an Eagle Scout, I quit in protest.
In the 14 years since, I have patiently waited in the hope that your organization would realize the error of its stance. Instead it has entrenched itself in a shameful and outdated concept of “morals” that justifies hatred and systematic discrimination of our fellow men.
I am saddened to say I can no longer be proud to have reached the rank of Eagle Scout. Instead, I am ashamed at my past as part of a hate organization. I will not allow any sons I may have to join the Boy Scouts any more than I would allow them to join the Hitler Youth.
Accordingly, I am returning the enclosed badge. I hope that there comes a time when I need no longer be ashamed. May the Boy Scouts of America reform itself, or cease to exist.
Sincerely,
Benjamin Kidder

Mr. Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 15207
Irving, Texas 75015-2079

Dear Mr. Brock and the Executive Board of the BSA:

From my very first moment as a Tiger Cub I dreamed of becoming an Eagle Scout. The next ten years of work toward that goal taught me patience, perseverance, and of course the twelve character traits that we all can cite from memory. When I finally earned Scouting’s highest honor I knew that I would be proud of my accomplishment forever.

But my time in the Scouting also taught me to use my conscience. As I became aware of BSA’s discriminatory policies toward gays, I could not ignore the hypocrisy of an organization that claimed to be for all boys. Less than a year after becoming an Eagle Scout, I quit in protest.

In the 14 years since, I have patiently waited in the hope that your organization would realize the error of its stance. Instead it has entrenched itself in a shameful and outdated concept of “morals” that justifies hatred and systematic discrimination of our fellow men.

I am saddened to say I can no longer be proud to have reached the rank of Eagle Scout. Instead, I am ashamed at my past as part of a hate organization. I will not allow any sons I may have to join the Boy Scouts any more than I would allow them to join the Hitler Youth.

Accordingly, I am returning the enclosed badge. I hope that there comes a time when I need no longer be ashamed. May the Boy Scouts of America reform itself, or cease to exist.

Sincerely,

Benjamin Kidder