October 27th, 2012
Mr. Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive
BSA National Executive Board
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079
Irving, Texas 75015-2079
Dear Mr. Mazzuea and Members of the Executive Board,
Due to the discriminatory ban Boy Scouts of America maintains against homosexuals, I am returning the Eagle Scout award I earned in December of 1994.
Growing up, I loved Scouting. My father encouraged me to join Tiger Cubs when I was six years old, and I remained active until high school. I made many great friends throughout the years, and I learned a variety of skills from camping to leadership. However, the greatest thing I learned in Scouting was values. I have always strived to embody the Scout Law’s twelve points, and I credit Boy Scouts for shaping me into the husband, father, and citizen I am today.
Despite my positive feelings towards Scouting, the policy barring homosexuals from participating has bothered me for years because its treatment of gays goes against the values I learned within the program. Troop 175 in Peachtree City, Georgia, taught me to be friendly, courteous, and kind. We were taught not to judge others by things beyond their control. Homosexuality falls into that category. It is neither immoral nor sexually deviant, and those who are gay should have the same right to be as true to themselves and others as heterosexuals are.
Recent events have prompted me to no longer tolerate Scouting’s discrimination. Jen Tyrrell of Ohio should not have been removed as a Den Mother because she is a lesbian. Having met all the requirements, Ryan Andresen of California should not have been denied his Eagle award due to his sexual orientation. The 11 person committee that reviewed the policy last July should not have reached a “unanimous consensus” to maintain the status quo. Actions like these are reprehensible and inexcusable. History will look unfavorably on these moments because Scouting had the opportunity to stand up for equal rights and chose not to make the right, morally straight decisions.
Last weekend I went to a hardware store with my 11-month-old son in my arms. Outside the front entrance, there was a young man in his Boy Scout uniform with his mother selling popcorn to support his troop. Seeing this, I pictured my own son in that outfit, and I asked myself if I would be like my father and encourage him to join. The answer was both immediate and clear. As long as the Boy Scouts of America maintains a policy that discriminates against others, neither he nor I will be associated with the organization.
Disappointed but hopeful for the future,