Ten scouts staff in northern California have returned their badges to protest the firing of an openly gay 22-year-old Eagle Scout.

The Eagle Scout, Tim Griffin, says his sexual orientation was not previously a problem. He believes that the decision of Boy Scouts of America to uphold its gay ban earlier this month was the reason for his dismissal.

Officials said Mr Griffin had been fired for refusing to heed uniform rules and for wearing nail polish and an earring.

However, his colleagues at Camp Winton in Amador County said the firing was wholly about his sexual orientation. Ten of the 30 staffers have resigned in protest and some have been wearing nail polish to show their support for him.

The Boy Scouts of America announced earlier this month that it will retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

As a private organisation, the Boy Scouts of America has adopted positions since 1991 which state that homosexuality is “inconsistent with the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed.