Boy Scouts | Discrimination | News | Oak Park

5 Eagle Scouts Have Returned Badges to the Boy Scouts Because They Won't Accept Gays — Here's Another

Rob Breymaier, an Eagle Scout, father, and executive director of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center outside of Chicago, is the latest Eagle Scout to return his badge to the Boy Scouts over its anti-gay policies, the Chicago Tribune reports:

Breymaier"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, who put his medal in the mail Friday, said he spent 10 years as a Scout in his native Toledo, Ohio, and another 10 years as an adult leader of the same troop. As a leader, he said he never enforced the anti-gay policy, but it was difficult to do more than quietly flout the rule in his own group.

"It was a family, and it was hard to pull away from it," Breymaier said. "I was fully aware that it was wrong, but speaking out against that could have gotten you kicked out."

Earlier this month, I posted a letter and photo from another Eagle Scout returning his badge. The organization says it has received a number of them:

Deron Smith, spokesman for Boy Scouts of America, said five Eagle Scouts had returned their medals in protest of the policy as of Friday. He reiterated the group's position that the majority of members agree with the ban.

"Scouting represents millions of youth and adult members in diverse communities across the nation, each with a variety of beliefs," Smith said. "Although we are disappointed to learn of anyone who feels compelled to return his Eagle rank, we fully understand and appreciate that not everyone will agree with any one position or policy."

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  1. Thank you, Rob.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 30, 2012 11:17:15 AM

  2. Good to see more support towards intolerance of discrimination and antiChrist antigays.

    Exposing bigotry with the bible :

    Hatred is the greatest sin which goes against the greatest commandments of Christ. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ has clearly mentioned that the way to have eternal life for his followers is through his commandments to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. He has mentioned that those laws are above all other biblical laws of any other prophets.

    Religious homophobes promoting hatred and discrimination are antiChrist who do not believe or pretend to believe in Jesus Christ but do not acknowledge Christ's commandments to love God and to love thy neighbor as thyself, to be the highest of all biblical laws. The antiChrist, like the devil, is a master of quoting biblical verses except those 2 top commandments of love from Christ, they avoid using Christ's name but use other names, even 'God', to bring all sort of biblical verses or 'facts', to lie and to prove their justification to hate. AntiChrist deceive people that those 2 commandments of love were not above all laws for Christians, and they are around in many organizations pretending to be of 'religious' faith.

    The issue of homosexuality, same sex marriage and many other issues (sexual/non sexual) are different forms of a test of the Christian faith on that choice of who they really believe in the end, to love (Christ and His greatest commandments) or to hate (succumb to temptation of verses NOT from Christ's greatest commandments to justify discrimination).

    Posted by: Simon | Jul 30, 2012 11:25:13 AM

  3. You know, I completely understand their need to return their Eagle award(s) but do you really think they will get it back if the BSA reverses it's policy?!

    I'm also an Eagle Scout (who is gay) and I'll be damned if I'm going to return mine! I worked so hard for so many years to get that award.

    You can't force bigotry. The council I was under, and really the entire region clearly did not follow this bigoted policy as there were many gay scouts and leaders who were a part of my scouting experience. Regardless of the wrongful policy at the top, I had a great scouting experience and I'm very proud of my scouting accomplishments.

    Posted by: Jake | Jul 30, 2012 11:28:08 AM

  4. actually, it's WAY more than 5! Check out the tumblr devoted to it!

    Posted by: Terry | Jul 30, 2012 11:35:11 AM

  5. actually, it's WAY more than 5! Check out the tumblr devoted to it!

    Posted by: Terry | Jul 30, 2012 11:35:15 AM

  6. "He [Deron Smith] reiterated the group's position that the majority of members agree with the ban."

    As members in disagreement continue to abandon the organization, Smith will soon be able to give that a spin: An increasing majority of members agree with the ban.

    Kudos to those showing their support by leaving behind such an important part of their life experience.

    Posted by: Mitch | Jul 30, 2012 11:51:57 AM

  7. @Jake, I won't say that it's "wrong" to keep your Eagle Medal, but it's just a symbol. You'd still have the lessons and experiences that earning it gave you. Returning the medals is symbolic as well, but IMO a powerful form of protest against a policy that is morally wrong.

    It's your decision, obviously, but I'd give it some thought.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 30, 2012 11:55:54 AM

  8. It seems to me that Deron Smith has laid down a gauntlet. If you don't return the badge, that means that you agree with the policy, or at least you are allowing the BSA to make that assumption. Jake, you need to reassess your decision to keep the badge. The BSA has forced your hand.

    Posted by: Jay | Jul 30, 2012 12:57:52 PM

  9. There are a lot more than 5. Over at there are loads of scanned letters from Eagle Scouts returning their badges and/or cards.

    Posted by: Brian | Jul 30, 2012 1:35:14 PM

  10. Many of us former Eagle Scouts returned our Eagle pins years ago. I did so 11 years ago. See the url below.

    Posted by: Click here | Jul 30, 2012 2:13:40 PM

  11. Here's another.

    Posted by: Aquarian35 | Jul 30, 2012 8:14:51 PM

  12. Sorry. I don't think the link worked. The Bangor Daily News is reporting on a Dentist in Bangor who just returned his badge as well.

    Posted by: Aquarian35 | Jul 30, 2012 8:16:42 PM

  13. I agree with Jake. I worked hard for eagle; I'm proud of that and I'm keeping it. I let BSA know how I feel every time they contact me, and I will do everything I can to change the policy. No policy is permanent. I also support my reasonable, non-homophobic friends that are still part of BSA. We need more people like that to be involved so things will change.

    Posted by: Marc | Jul 30, 2012 8:40:56 PM

  14. I returned mine last week on the 7/25. Scouting was a huge part of my life and I had to speak up about the hatred and ignorance the policy is spreading. It tough decisions for me, but 100% the right decision!

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 30, 2012 9:42:05 PM

  15. When are the end times coming? I want to get some video of all the AntiChrists floating up and away. They'll be happy to leave this mortal earth, and I'll be happy to say goodbye.

    Posted by: John | Jul 31, 2012 7:51:33 AM

  16. BSA would be very happy for all gay eagles to return their badges; excluding us is the point of the policy. I won't give them that satisfaction.

    Posted by: Marc | Jul 31, 2012 9:29:49 AM

  17. Current count is 76 Former Eagle scouts returning their badges. Two of which are currently serving as Scoutmasters.

    If you would like the list of names I can post it.

    Posted by: CJ | Aug 1, 2012 3:34:48 PM

  18. This struck me as odd initially, but I can sort of understand it. More gay scouts are saying they won't return their eagles, as Marc said "I won't give them that satisfaction". So is this a straight protest against the BSA bigotry?

    Someone else asked if we think we'll get them back if the BSA changes their minds. Probably not; I certainly don't. If a big basket of badges dumped on the Executive Board's table causes them to rethink their decision, then it's worth it. I'm sad, but I'm also mad, and I feel betrayed by an organization from which I learned a lot.

    The sad part is that this now becomes a self-selecting group. People who disagree with the bigotry are leaving; what remains reinforces the bigotry. More polarization, as goes the rest of the country. Yet, I can't stand by and do nothing. Returning my Eagle was the only thing I could do that had the slightest chance of having an effect.

    Personally, I think the organization is lost. They are now lying about the number of Eagles returned, so really, they are so convinced of their righteousness that they miss the irony of their own lies.

    Posted by: Thomas Salander | Aug 1, 2012 10:00:59 PM

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