Leo Giannini, a native of Pittsfield has returned his Eagle Scout badge in protest of the exclusionary policy of homosexuals practiced by the Boy Scouts of America. Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the organization, with only 3 to 4 percent of scouts ever reaching the milestone according to CBS.
This, of course, is in light of the Boy Scouts organization’s recent decision to uphold its 102-year-old ban on gay members. Because nothing teaches a young man value and respect quite like discrimination.
The article adds that Giannini, who is not gay, penned a carefully crafted and respectful letter to the organization and mailed it along with his badge. Other members have since followed suit:
Giannini says he’d like to see the Boy Scouts of America take a formal poll of its members and determine if a majority really does support the ban on gays.
“I just want a realistic assessment of popular opinion here,” he says. “We are at an important turning point for the Boy Scouts of America. I understand where they’re coming from, but I think that they are lagging historically.”
What a well reasoned and respectful way of putting it. But that seems to fall on deaf ears in the organization because, despite flowery language from PR people, they aren’t dealing in reason or respect with this issue. Saying the ban is reflective of the popular opinion of members is a reason, sure, but it’s not reasonable when you consider that the decision was ultimately decided by an 11-member special review committee and not through a genuinely democratic process. “Support from parents,” which was cited in their reasoning ignores the stories of other parents, like Jennifer Tyrrell who was kicked out as a den mother for being a lesbian.
Sure, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was repealed, but that’s only because your sexual orientation is irrelevant in a foxhole. Tying knots and fishing – that’s where you’ll find some gray area.
But if nothing else, hopefully this will inspire more and more heterosexual scouts to speak up. There are stories out there of members being kicked out for their sexual orientation, and that’s horrible. But they alone can’t sway the minds of the powers that be because gay members are seen as the problem to begin with. If more and more members who don’t identify themselves as homosexual vocally decry the practice, the organization will soon enough not be able to rely on the crutch of “popular opinion.”