Dear Bob Mazzuca and the BSA National Executive Board:
At my first Court of Honor I learned what an Eagle Scout represented and the efforts required to achieve Scouting’s highest honor. I knew that I had a meaningful challenge presented to me, and I spent the following years working toward becoming an Eagle.
I have been proud of that achievement for the last 20+ years. I have been an Eagle for more than half my life, and feel it has defined who I am. I have proudly put it on my resume and shared with others my love of Scouting by working at Scout camps, mentoring younger scouts, and acting as a leader in my son’s Pack and now his Troop. Due to the recent ruling, passed down by a secret committee[i], that bans gays from all aspects of Scouting, I am no longer proud of Scouting. We no longer represent that which we teach. We have violated both the Scout Oath and Law.
…”To help other people at ALL times.”
How is it helping a child to exclude him because he is different? Is this any less wrong than excluding one for the color of his skin? How about telling a parent that they cannot participate with their child or lead a group of boys because they are gay? Is that so different than exclusion based on gender?
…”To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
What good moral code would exclude good leaders and members, ones who would be welcomed into any branch of the military?
Scouting is a private organization, and can make its own rules, but the Eagle is still the only civilian award that can be worn on a military uniform. This means that Scouting has a higher standard to follow. Until Scouting, as an organization, can come forward and publicly do the right thing, I can no longer call myself an Eagle. I have been a Boy Scout. I have been a Sea Scout. I am no longer an Eagle Scout, and am renouncing my Eagle until such time that I can proudly say that the Boy Scouts of America is an ALL inclusive organization and welcomes all scouts and leaders, gay or straight.
Erik David Welch, MA
Ship 16, The Islander Eagle Class of 1989