The Boy Scouts of America sparked a nationwide debate last July after a two-year review upheld their exclusion of homosexuals.
As fallout continues over the controversial decision, one local Eagle Scout is taking a stand against the organization.
“I am gay, my father is not,” said Cameron Kline of Philadelphia. “Collectively we have given more than 50 years to the Boy Scouts of America. We’re both Eagle Scouts.”
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Kline tells NBC10 he and his father wrote a letter to the Boy Scouts and returned his Eagle Scout medal.
“It really hurt when I saw this policy reaffirmed,” said Kline. “They’re saying to people like me, ‘no, no, no, you’re not welcome, get out.’”
Kline says it was a difficult choice to give back the Eagle Scout medal, which is the highest rank in the scouts. Still, Kline tells NBC10 he’s happy with his decision.
“We’re pleased to add our name to the list of people who really don’t agree with this,” said Kline.
Kline isn’t the only one. Since the ban on gays was reaffirmed, many former scouts have sent letters to the organization, returning their medals. NBC10 contacted the Boy Scouts of America who sent the following statement:
We don’t have an exact count of medals returned recently but we have received a few. Although we are disappointed to learn of anyone who feels compelled to return his Eagle rank, we respect their right to express an opinion….
While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand and appreciate that not everyone will agree with any one position or policy.
Ironically, Kline tells NBC10 his decision to return the medal was inspired by what he learned as an Eagle Scout.
“The things I learned in scouting, to take charge, to fix a wrong and to stand for something,” said Kline. “That’s what prompted me to put it in the mailbox and send it off.”