A Louisville Boy Scout has returned his Eagle badge to protest the organization’s stance against allowing gays.
The Boy Scouts of America emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays this month after a confidential two-year review. Several Eagle Scouts were prompted by the move to return their badges with letters complaining about the decision to leaders of the organization.
WFPL reports that Jackson Cooper, who is a former senior patrol leader of Louisville Troop 342, says in his letter that he thinks the decision has damaged the organization’s reputation.
“Most people didn’t realize this was the policy and my hope in writing the letter is that enough attention would be drawn, regardless of whether they hold those beliefs personally, the leadership would find those positions untenable just as a matter of public relations,” Cooper wrote.
The Scouts’ chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, said 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. While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society,” Mazzuca said in a statement.
Cooper says the decision could hurt boys as they mature.
“As they come of age and come to realize their sexual orientation, I can only imagine what kind of effect that would have to be told there’s something wrong with them and they’re not welcome in that organization. As a general matter, I think the effect of the policy is to damage the reputation of the organization.”
He also noted the pain the decision has caused him.
“There may or may not have been any homosexual boys in our troop. I can’t honestly say that I know. But I do know that my now deceased mother, a lesbian, would not have been allowed to serve as a den mother if her orientation had been public knowledge at the time. The thought that I have invested such a large part of my life with an organization that would have turned my own mother away breaks my heart.”