The move comes following the recent announcement that despite a secret 2 year review into the ban, that the BSA will continue to discriminate against gay people who wish to join them, either as an adult volunteer or as a junior scout.
“I can no longer maintain any connection to an organization which actively promotes such a bigoted and misguided policy,” Dr. Robert Wise of Chicago wrote to Scout headquarters in Texas. “To that end, I am interested in removing all evidence that I was ever a Scout.”
Dr Wise is not the only former Scout to write to their local headquarters. Martin Cizmar, who is the arts and culture editor of Willamette Week, an alternative newspaper in Oregan has also returned his medal.
He wrote: “ Though I did not know it at the time, I was acquainted with a number of gay scouts and adult leaders. They were all great men, loyal to the Scout Oatch and motto and helpful to the movement. There is no fair reason they should not be allowed to participate in scouting.”
Deron Smith is the BSA’s national spokesman and he said that there was no official count of how many medals had been returned, but did note that around 50,000 medals were awarded each year.
He said: “We’re naturally disappointed when someone decides to return a medal because of this single policy. We respect their right to express their opinion”
The ban remains in place despite a growing trend in the United States towards acceptance of gay people, with President Obama affirming his belief in equal marriage earlier this year and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell last September.
President Obama is yet to comment on the ban, which is surprising given his vocal commitment to gay rights, and the fact that as President of the United States he is also honorary President of the Boy Scouts.