I attained the rank of Eagle Scout on a date I will never forget, 02/02/2002. I was one of six friends who reached Eagle at the same time in Mundelein, Illinois. It was such a significant occurrence in our small suburban town that we made it into the newspaper. We grew up together, starting as Cub Scouts, where my mother was the den leader and the other five boys’ parents were all leaders in some fashion.
The six of us followed each other throughout scouting. Though one of us drifted apart from the others, the connections forged in scouting has kept us close, sticking together through all manner of events, both happy and sad; each of us taking turns leading the group in our own way. To this day, the five of us are close friends, attending each other’s weddings and those of our friends; maintaining strong friendships, supporting each other through the good times and the bad.
Unfortunately, it’s now with a heavy heart that I must do what time and the strain of the world tried so hard to do: I must break from my brothers; my lifelong friends. I can no longer stand with them as a proud Eagle Scout. Though I will retain the values, morals and skills that scouting has taught me, I cannot, in good conscience, remain an Eagle. That honor has been corrupted by the BSA’s blatant discrimination and bigotry.
The BSA’s policy of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals” is not a practice in line with the teachings of the Boy Scouts. Instead, this is the practice of bigots. Scouting taught me to stand up against the unethical and that it is wrong to exclude someone for any reason, whether it be race, religion, gender, sex, physical ability or sexual orientation. I was taught to stand up for those who need my help. I am a straight man and I choose to stand with those whose voices you choose to suppress and ignore.
I am relinquishing my Eagle Scout medal and patch to the BSA’s care because the honor the rank holds has been tainted. The rank of Eagle no longer holds meaning when it is backed by an organization that represents such bigotry and contempt for others. It is my hope that, one day, the BSA will see its mistake. On that day, I will proudly stand as an Eagle Scout once again.
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, Troop 388
Order of the Arrow, Ordeal Member, Lodge 40