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Several Eagle Scouts have returned their hard-earned medals and even gone so far as to renounce their membership in the Boy Scouts of America over the organizations stance banning openly gay people from serving as troop leaders or from joining the organization as scouts.
Eagle Scout status is hard to achieve from what I understand. It requires a genuine commitment on the part of the scout. The candidate has to have achieved 21 merit badges, plus successfully planned and completed an extensive service project, in addition to other requirements. Giving up the medal and renouncing membership, I assume, is not done lightly.
All my brothers went through scouting. None of them ever made it to Eagle Scout, but my ex-husband almost did–he fell short by one merit badge. But he was honored by being inducted into the Order of the Arrow, sort of a National Honor Society for boy scouts. He was without a father during his growing years, and he would talk about the great relationship he cultivated with one of his scout leaders and mentor–a man whom he felt filled the role of father in his life. Whether or not that man was gay, he did not know. And as he’ll tell you, he did not care.
In talking to him recently, he pointed out that the reason he didn’t want our son, who is now 20, to join the scouts despite his good experience, was precisely because of its anti-gay stance. And because of the more covert, rarely discussed systemic problems of hazing and pedophilia.
“The purpose of the Boy Scouts of America, incorporated on February 8, 1910, and chartered by Congress in 1916, is to provide an educational program for boys and young adults to build character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop personal fitness.” I don’t see anything about sexual orientation in this statement of purpose.