Oak Park Man Returns Eagle Scout Medal Over Continued Ban On Gays
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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Boy Scouts of America’s policy of banning gay scouts and scout leaders has driven a local man to take action.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, Rob Braymaier of Oak Park spent 20 years in scouting – 10 years each as a scout and then a troop leader.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports
As a teenager, Braymaier became an Eagle Scout, the organization’s highest rank.
But now, he tells the Chicago Tribune that he has returned his Eagle medal because the scouts anti-gay policy. He called the policy, which was reaffirmed earlier this month, “infuriating, embarrassing and upsetting,” the Tribune reported.
Braymeier has also decided that his 8-year-old son will not be re-enrolling in the Scouting this year after the re-affirmation of anti-gay policy, the Tribune reported.
As a leader, Braymeier never enforced the anti-gay policy, but he could not take his protest further at the time, the Tribune reported.
The reaffirmation of the policy came last week, after a confidential two-year review.
Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith says five Eagle Scouts have given up their medals, the Tribune reported.
The Scouts’ chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, contended that most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both adult leaders and Scouts.
“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” Mazzuca said. “We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Irving-based Boy Scouts do not have to allow gay individuals into its organization. Officials with the organization said their policy does not permit leaders to be gay or atheist.
“Sexuality of any level does not have a place in the Boy Scouts of America,” Boy Scouts of America spokesman Pat Currie told CBS-owned KTVT-TV, Dallas, in 2010. “What we are all about is teaching kids lifetime values and trying to develop characters and make them better citizens … We are not about sexual orientation.”
But a 1991 position statement on the subject stated clearly that the Boy Scouts disapprove of homosexuality.
“We believe that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in word and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts,” the statement says.
The Boy Scouts’ policy stands in contrast to inclusive membership policies adopted by several other major youth organizations, including the Girl Scouts of the USA and Camp Fire.
CBS Dallas-Fort Worth contributed to this report.
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