Ill. Eagle Scout Returns Medal to Protest Gay Ban
OAK PARK (Ill.) - A suburban Chicago man has mailed his Eagle Scout medal back to the Boy Scouts of America to protest the group's decision to continue its ban on gay Scout leaders.
Rob Breymaier of Oak Park told the Chicago Tribune in a story published Monday that he has long opposed the Scouts' policy and given up hope the 102-year-old organization will change it.
Earlier this month, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays after conducting a two-year review. The group cited support from parents as a key reason for keeping the policy.
"I could always explain away that it was an old policy and that sooner or later, we'll be able to force a vote on the issue," Breymaier said. "But when this vote happened and they reaffirmed the policy, it was just too much. It was infuriating, embarrassing and upsetting."
Breymaier was a Boy Scout in Toledo, Ohio, for a decade, and spent another 10 years as an adult leader of the same troop. Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts. Those who earn the rank must have 21 merit badges, serve six months in a leadership position and pass a board of review.
Breymaier said he won't let his 8-year-old son continue being a Scout. He said instead he'd like to start a local group that has Scout values but is also inclusive.
A spokesman for the Scouts says five Eagle Scouts had returned their medals in protest of the policy by Friday.