Many Eagle Scouts in the US have returned their medals to the Boy Scouts of America in protest against their anti-gay policy which does not allow any gay members, volunteers or staff.
Aaron Becker, an Eagle Scout of 20 years returned his medal, which he earned after years of hard work, and a seven-month project in which he made a video about vulnerable children.
Children’s author, Becker, 38 said: “It seems so hypocritical to me, what they’ve chosen to do. It boggles my mind,” and went on to say that the Boy Scouts should support and include people, rather than exclude them.
Lee Berger, 39, a VP at Travelers Insurance, Connecticut, also returned his medal:
“Part of what I learned in Scouts is that you stand up for the side of the person who’s being oppressed and you do what’s right, even if it’s not easy,” he said.
BSA spokesman, Deron Smith, said the Boy Scouts of America was not keeping an “exact count” of returned medals, but that they had “received a few,” confirming that he thought that was an accurate representation of the number of medals returned.
Burke Stansbury, 36, who earned his Eagle Scout badge in 1995, has set up a Tumblr page which includes many letters and photographs of Eagle Scouts returning their badges, expressing their disappointment, and disassociating themselves with the organisation.
Paul Berman, 61, a lawyer from Silver Spring said he was uncomfortable with the idea of returning his medal, which he earned in 1965, but was more uncomfortable with the idea of keeping it:
“I found the decision inconsistent with everything I thought I’d learned from Boy Scouts, which was really part of the fabric of my growing up.
“Boy Scouts helped teach me the importance of strong, solid relationships with other people, regardless of however they might be classified.”