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Straight Eagle Scout Returns Badge in Protest of Boy Scouts' Anti-Gay Policies


Martin Cizmar, the arts and culture editor of Portland Oregon's weekly Williamette Week, returned his Eagle Scout badge to the Boy Scouts yesterday in protest of the group's anti-gay policies.

CizmarWrote Cizmar: "I am not gay. However, I cannot in good conscious hold thi sbadge as long as the BSA continues a policy of bigotry. Though I didn't know at the time, I was acquainted with a number fo gay scouts and scouters. They were all great men, loyal to the scout oath and motto and helpful to the movement. There is no fair reason they should not be allowed to participate in scouting."

Added Cizmar on Twitter: "Just mailed my Eagle Scout medal back to the BSA to protest the ban on gay scouts. Kinda sad, but important."

(image via imgur)

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  1. Thank you Martin for siding with compassion, kindness and equality. You were raised right! Here's to loads of positivity to you.

    Posted by: Jackson | Jul 21, 2012 7:06:03 AM

  2. It's great to have straight allies! Can't we send him to a straight cruise or something?

    Posted by: darkorient | Jul 21, 2012 10:51:39 AM

  3. Returning medals is his right to do. And certainly a better way to register a protest than to boycott an organization. His message is "there is no "honor" in bigotry." It's a good lesson to teach people.

    Posted by: Mary | Jul 21, 2012 2:09:25 PM

  4. The sad part is that this will not make a bit of difference in the BSA's decision making process (or lack thereof). The BSA remains, and most likely will remain, a homophobic, worst-first, risk-averse organization that is watering down the program to the point where true adventure is canned, safer than walking to school, and simply nothing like what it was even 10 years ago. As to the return of Eagle medals, it means nothing to them. They don't go through the files and pull that record out and shred it. They probably chuckle and ignore it, snickering "probably a closeted gay, so good riddance". The BSA spent millions to take their right to association to the Supreme Court, they won, and they will likely not retreat from that stance any time in the foreseeable future, no matter how many Eagles renounce their ranks.

    Jay M.

    Posted by: Jay M. | Jul 21, 2012 2:33:30 PM

  5. I just wrote a letter to the Boy Scouts returning my Eagle Scout award as well, except mine is from 35 years ago. Would you like to read my letter? It's rather long and I can't figure out where to send it on your blog (with photo).

    You may also read it on my Facebook page, which is

    Posted by: Matthew Hutchison | Jul 21, 2012 5:07:28 PM

  6. When I heard the news I thought it was a spoof item. I am a Lesbian and have been an Assistant Scout Leader and a Group Scout Leader in England. My troop had at least one gay scout (not that it was any of our business) and it was really helpful to have a gay leader to help the other leaders-not that they needed it. Not all troops are as inclusive as ours but at least we have a clear statement here in support of LGBT scouts, leaders and families to back us up. Roll on BSA catching up with the UK

    Posted by: Cindylou Turner-Taylor | Jul 21, 2012 5:48:52 PM

  7. you sir are an inspiration to all straight allies. I love to see allies really step up. You have sacrificed a great accommplishment for the greater good...for us. I know just how much this award means because i recieved my girl scout silver and gold awards. While you may not have the physical award, they cannot take away the services you have done for the country and the community. For that we salute you.

    Posted by: amanda | Jul 22, 2012 3:59:10 PM

  8. Did you also return every opportunity that was given to you because you were an Eagle Scout. I am an Eagle Scout and personally was able to attend a college that my academic standing alone would not have let me. I have also gotten jobs because I stood out from others for having my eagle scout award.

    So, for you to make this statement of renouncing you Eagle Scout award, did you return all money from:

    Jobs that you got b/c eagle scout got you ahead
    Scholarships that were awarded b/c of your Eagle Scout

    If you are gonna take a stand, go whole hearted or don't do it at all. That badge / rank has given you much and as an Eagle scout, I expect you to give it ALL back if you give the badge back as well.

    Posted by: Jody Hoover | Jul 23, 2012 11:22:48 AM

  9. @ Jody Hoover I have reviewed hundreds of resumes during my business carrier, and cannot recall any one siting a Boy Scout award as a part of their business background.

    I do not know your age, or background, but in the Pre WW2 period, Homosexuality was not something that was on everywone's mind. My Scout Troop had a known Homosexual (Queer; in those days)Scout Master. We had two Strait Patrols, and one for us "Queers". However, our Troop was NOT sponsored by a Religious organization. Nor were we an exception. At Summer Scout Camp, we saw that there were other troops with "Queer" members; just like us. (It was hard to tell us apart because at the Morning and Afternoon swims in the Lake, only the 20 something year old Life Guards wore bathing suits.)

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Jul 23, 2012 4:02:33 PM

  10. 36. My resume has Eagle Scout under awards and honors. I have beaten out other applicants for jobs because of this. Recruiters and managers have told me this is why I was chosen over others.

    Posted by: Jody Hoover | Jul 23, 2012 8:07:47 PM

  11. Eagle Scout here. And gay. I knew a lot of gay scouts, when I was in the organization. The powers that be are stupid and naive. I'm willing to bet that at least 50% of boy scouts are/turn out to be gay. Being a boy scout doesn't make one gay. I'm going to turn in my eagle scout badge and the cool looking 'gold card' given to me, signed by Bush (yuck). I'll write a letter too!

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 23, 2012 11:22:38 PM

  12. I, for one, thanked the committee members for their decision. As an old Eagle Scout, and Order of the Arrow member, Iunderstood what the last two words of the OATH we first took at age 11 meant - an oath we took very seriously. Those two words still mean the same thing, though society has tried to change the definition and meaning of almost every word in our language in the ensuing 50 years. Apparently Terry Perlin, Kelsey Timmerman and other Eagles who've turned in theirawards in protest didn't understand that, or held mental reservations when they took the Oath, and were therefor undeserving of the award to begin with.

    The three parts of the Oath are to (first) God, then country and to one's self - in that order for a reason. The Boy Scouts of America is first a "religious" organization, and always has been, for that reason, to help young boys establish a moral compass to guide themselves through the rest of their life. If parents have some other purpose for their young children, then they should direct their kids to some other organization, and accept the sometimes unintended consequences of their decisions.

    I know of no major world religion or spiritual belief that permits immorality, save one, but then I don't expect that so-called "religion" to ever accept the ideals of scouting - in the traditions of the BSA, that is. As scouts, we were taught to respect the rights and choices of others. But we were never required to associate with anybody who held beliefs, ideals, traditions and morality outside of ours.

    Finally, the BSA is a FAMILY-oriented organization. Homosexuality is about as polar opposite a belief as you can get from that.

    Posted by: Jules | Jul 25, 2012 4:20:45 PM

  13. People are mostly way more more than their god.

    Posted by: EmmittBrownBTTF1 | Aug 7, 2012 5:40:42 AM

  14. Everyone here knows that the german SA forces evolved out of pederast hiking club and that almost all the early nazis were gay? right? you know this? the Wandervogel (Rovers or Wandering Youth) You all know this right? It was a hiking club for adult men and boys where pedophilia was part of the hike.....right? you all know this?

    Posted by: pb11 | Aug 7, 2012 7:56:10 PM

  15. The Boys Scouts aren't phased by this stuff. They shred the badges and recycle metals for any content of value. These letters remind me of the endless letters of recommendation They become stale and ultimately have no resemblance to the person being described. No one is ever the saint they are portrayed to be -- and that includes you Martin. You can feel good about yourself.

    Posted by: Josh | Aug 7, 2012 10:44:36 PM

  16. @Jules

    I don't even know how I stumbled onto this site, this thread or reading these comments. Although I was very touched, I had no intention of leaving a comment until I stumbled upon your post.

    How sad it made me feel for you! I have to ask. Do the religious morals and values instilled in you from church and BSA that you referred to in your post make you an expert on what constitutes a family?

    My family is as apple pie as they come. Flag waving, church going, over-achievers and leaders in our community. We also happen to have a child in our family, my nephew, who is gay. From the moment that child drew his first breath he was never more to us than a blessing from God. He's a homosexual. He is also left-handed and has brown eyes. It is all little parts that make him the wonderful human being he is.

    No, he wasn't a Boy Scout, but he exhibits the same values and morals and caring and service to others and community that I have witnessed in other friends and family that did proceed through BSA through the years. A couple of years ago, my nephew saved the life of a complete stranger at the beach. I can assure you that the young boy's life he saved, and his entire family, and everyone else on the beach that day couldn't care less that the lips administering CPR were the lips of a homosexual man. I have never been more proud or thankful my nephew was put on this earth. It was Thanksgiving day.

    My nephew has a wonderful partner in a loving, caring relationship. We all adore him too! Oh, I can't wait for the day I can dance at their wedding. His southern Baptist grandparents will be there as well, (but they won't drink!) They will make wonderful parents one day too.

    Jesus came to change the old law, and left us with one commandment, "To love our neighbors as ourselves." I will pray for you.

    Posted by: lala | Aug 9, 2012 11:13:32 PM

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