US: Seattle lawyer returns Eagle Scout badge in protest against scouts gay ban
A Seattle civil rights and employment attorney has returned his Eagle Scout badge in protest against the Boy Scouts of America’s ongoing ban on gay scouts, volunteers and staff.
Joseph Shaeffer, of the firm McDonald, Hoague and Bayless said he wanted to join hundreds of other Eagle Scouts who had already returned their badges, in order to protest the ban.
He was a scout in Tallahassee, Florida and became an Eagle Scout in 1987.
He said that “instead of living up to its values, the Boy Scouts have chosen to exclude people because of who they love.”
The Boy Scouts of American has delayed a vote on whether or not to lift a ban on gay scouts, volunteers and staff, until 20 May “due to the complexity of the issue”.
1,400 voting members will then decide whether the BSA’s National Council will lift its national ban on gay members, volunteers and staff. If it does so, individual scout troops will be able to decide on whether or not to allow gay members.
Religious opposition to the lifting of the ban noted that out of 2.7 million members across the US, around 70% of Boy Scout groups are hosted by churches and other faith-based groups, including the Catholic and Mormon churches.
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Earlier this week, the head of a Christian legal firm in the US said that the reason that the Boy Scouts of America may make moves towards dropping its ban on gay scouts was “spiritual pressure” from Satan.
Last week one US radio host said the scouts should “shut down” rather than allow gays in, and that these are signs of the “end times”, and another said that allowing gay scout masters would allow “gay activists” to “spread deviant sexuality”.
A father of two from Brooklyn, New York, recently started his own Boy Scouts troop, inclusive of gay members, and girls, to allow his son to be a member without having to accept the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.