Bill DeVos, a Scoutmaster in upstate New York, packed up his Eagle Scout medal, badge and knot, and mailed the awards to the Boy Scouts’ headquarters in Texas.
Though it was hard to part with the symbols of his Scouting achievements that harkened to his childhood, the 56-year-old father of two Eagle Scouts said he didn’t want them as long as the organization kept its ban on gay Scouts and leaders.
In doing so, DeVos, joined dozens of other Eagle Scouts who said in online postings that they have sent back their medals, badges or membership cards following the Boy Scouts’ announcement on July 17 that it would keep the ban on gays in place after a confidential, two-year review. DeVos was hoping to remain part of the Scouts organization and push for change from within, but others who returned medals said they were done with the organization.
A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, Deron Smith, said 50,000 Scouts earn the Eagle rank every year, and that a “few” had returned their medals, badges or certificates since July 17. When asked for a precise number, Smith said it would be hard to say since there was no standard way to return the items.