Martin Cizmar, Former Eagle Scout, Returns Badge To Boy Scouts In Anti-Gay Policy Protest Boy Scouts reaffirm anti-gay stance - Topix

Herb 2012/08/13 02:00:56

A letter penned by a former Eagle Scout who returned his badge to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in an act of protest against the organization's decision to uphold its anti-gay policy is going viral in the blogosphere.

As Towleroad, Instinct magazine and other media outlets first reported, Martin Cizmar, who now works as the arts and culture editor of Oregon's Williamette Week, described the gesture as "kind of sad, but important" on Twitter.

In the letter, Cizmar -- who is straight -- writes: "Though I didn't know at the time, I was acquainted with a number of 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."

"A national policy on sexuality forces good, principled people from scouting," he continues. "I can only hope that someone inside the BSA has the courage to fix this policy before the organization withers into irrelevance."

Cizmar then concludes, "I don't want to be an Eagle Scout if a young man who is gay can't be one, too."

Boy Scouts reaffirm anti-gay stance - Topix

AMHERST - Leaders of Boy Scout Troop 500 say they have long disagreed with the national Boy Scouts of America's policy of denying admission to gay members. But until last week, Scoutmaster Peter Crowley said he believed that policy could best be changed quietly, from the inside.

Crowley's feelings shifted July 17, when the national Boy Scouts organization announced it was sticking with its long-held policy of excluding gay members and leaders - a practice upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. After a two-year review, an 11-member committee decided unanimously "that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts," national scout spokesman Deron Smith told the Associated Press.

The announcement jolted Crowley and a large portion of his Amherst troop's parents into action. He and 15 other troop leaders penned a letter to the Gazette July 20, calling the national Boy Scouts policy "discriminatory" and "at odds with our interpretation of the Scout Oath and Law."

"We want to reassure you, our friends, neighbors and colleagues, that local Boy Scouts Troop 500 in Amherst does not support BSA's policy," the letter states. "Troop 500 invites the participation of all interested 11-to-17-year-old boys and their parents or guardians without regard to sexual orientation."

Crowley, a Leverett resident who has been scoutmaster for the past eight years and whose 17-year-old son, Duncan, is a troop member, believes the national policy has meant "the local gay community stays away from scouting.

"That's what we're worried about - denial of access," he added.

Leverett resident Nancy Grossman, whose son, Dani Miller-Grossman, has been a member of Troop 500 for two years, said the rules also contradict the values that scouting is supposed to be teaching.

"This is like joining the all-white country club," she said. "It's not just a polite disagreement. This is an issue we need to be actively involved in."

The parents of Scouts in Troop 500 are not alone in speaking out about the Boy Scouts membership rules.

Nationally, Change.org, a website that supports activist causes, has collected more than 300,000 signatures on a petition urging the Scouts to reinstate Jennifer Tyrrell, an Ohio mother who was removed earlier this year as a Cub Scout leader because she is a lesbian.

Following last week's reaffirmation of the policy on gay members, the arts and culture editor of the Williamette Weekly in Portland, Ore., returned his Eagle Scout badge to the national Boy Scouts. "I am not gay," Martin Cizmar wrote. "However, I cannot in good conscience hold this badge as long as the BSA continues a policy of bigotry."

Steve Roberts is head of the Metacomet District of the Western Massachusetts Council of the Boy Scouts of America, covering Franklin and Hampshire counties. Reached at his home Sunday, Roberts referred questions about the reaction of other local troops to the council's Scout executive, Larry Bystran.

When pressed about whether there will be sanctions against troops that do not exclude gay Scouts or Scout leaders, Roberts said, "No. Not in western Massachusetts."

As to what he is telling Scout leaders such as Crowley, who've called him in the past week, Roberts said, "My advice is to express their concerns to the national organization."

Bystran was not in his office Sunday and could not be reached for comment.

At least one other local Scout troop leader said he has no plans to enforce the national scouting ban on gay members.

"We don't ask about that," said William Englehardt, who has led Troop 104 in Hatfield for the past 15 years. "If they want to join, they join. This is a small town so we pretty much know everybody anyway."

Englehardt said as Scout leader his focus is on organizing activities such as camping and hiking.

"I pretty much run my own show here," he said. "I don't do everything the national wants me to do. It doesn't help the boys at all when things become political."

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  • Fariborz-Zak 2013/03/06 06:53:54
    no Scout Gay
  • thefatguy 2012/08/13 04:37:30
    Any troop that doesn't follow the rules should be disassociated from the BSA and any unauthorized use of BSA uniforms, logos, or other proprietary materials should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. If the BSA isn't going to punish violators then they're already a morally bankrupt organization.
  • Prairie... thefatguy 2012/12/11 08:04:48
    Prairie Wind
    I just spotted Merck's announcement stating they were pulling funding from the Boy Scouts of America in favor of the LBGT crowd. Intell did the same not to long ago also.

    I'll continue to support the Boy Scouts of America as a Congressionally approved PRIVATE organization with rules and guidelines for the opportunities available to young males to achieve. It is an organization where acceptance is gained upon approval of application and adults must welcome background screening before they may become members to assist as either Scoutmasters or Assistant Scoutmasters.

    Should other organizations who admire the Boy Scouts guidelines and rules, yet not adhere to them, then they are free to establish their own organizations, and respect the Scouts for their own ideals. It's worked for over 100 years, let the organization continue as long as young men seek a Scouting experience.

    ~ Eagle/OAl
  • thefatguy Prairie... 2012/12/11 16:57:02
    The Scouts provide a great environment for boys to grow into men. Private clubs can create their own rules. If someone else is offended by their rules, then don't join. Simple! The militant homosexual mafia want to destroy all traditional institutions and values.
  • Prairie... thefatguy 2012/12/12 05:50:51
    Prairie Wind
    With Merck and Intel playing up to the homosexual mafia, I'll gladly volunteer for any troop selling their Christmas/Holliday greenery to support finances for this next year. Heck, I'll even bake cookies with a pic of Mooch's butt on them and then price them for sale in the Senate as having a FLOTUS piece of a...ss. Call it payback for a planned day vacation in Hawaii on taxpayer's I.O.U.'s. :p)
  • abycinnamon BN-1 2012/08/13 04:19:31 (edited)
    abycinnamon BN-1
    I think their anti gay stance is appalling and backward. I think they should change or go extinct. This is no different than having an anti minority of any other kind stance, and it should not be tolerated.
  • thefatguy abycinn... 2012/08/13 04:32:03
    I love the irony of all you so-called "Progressives". Intolerance will not be tolerated!! LOL Just precious!
  • abycinn... thefatguy 2012/08/13 04:35:14 (edited)
    abycinnamon BN-1
    intolerance is the one thing I will not put up with. Yup, that's absolutely true. sad that you find that so amusing. but what can I expect from someone who has ronald reagan as a hero.
  • thefatguy abycinn... 2012/08/13 04:40:03
    You are being intolerant of the BSA! Oh, but THAT kind of intolerance is okay. Typical hypocrite "liberal"!
  • abycinn... thefatguy 2012/08/13 04:51:44
    abycinnamon BN-1
    So I should be okay with an organization that, for example, excludes black people. That's fine?

    So you are for ethical bankruptcy? Typical amoral conservative.
  • thefatguy abycinn... 2012/08/13 06:32:48
    You can think what you want about organizations that exclude blacks. I don't care. But, I'm not the one who claims to be tolerant. You are. And, my point is that you're full of cr@p because you are as intolerant as those you condemn but for different reasons. Finally, I wouldn't call myself a conservative.
  • abycinn... thefatguy 2012/08/13 15:57:34 (edited)
    abycinnamon BN-1
    Obviously someone who values tolerance would have a problem with intolerance, and it's idiotic to call that person a hypocrite for doing so. They would be a hypocrite if they accepted intolerance. Perhaps you should think about that for a while.

    Nice dodge, by the way. I guess you aren't interested in an actual discussion - you just like saying ignorant crap.
  • thefatguy abycinn... 2012/08/13 17:02:36
    I didn't dodge anything. I answered your question. Perhaps you should think about that for a change.
  • abycinn... thefatguy 2012/08/13 17:11:24
    abycinnamon BN-1
    obviously the absence of logic in calling me a hypocrite for not accepting intolerance is fine with you - but what else would I expect from an admirer of reagan.
  • thefatguy abycinn... 2012/08/13 18:19:48
    Yeah, you already used that one. Oh sorry, I guess you're a fan of recycling.
  • abycinn... thefatguy 2012/08/14 01:52:46
    abycinnamon BN-1
    and i suppose you will never address the gaping flaw in your "logic" calling me a hypocrite in the first place.
  • thefatguy abycinn... 2012/08/14 02:16:12 (edited)
    There is no flaw in my logic. You ARE a hypocrite. You claim to be tolerant but you are only tolerant of the things you agree with, which makes you a phony. If you were truly tolerant you would respect those who disagree with you and you wouldn't judge them. After all, they just have another view. The side you oppose is equally intolerant of the things they agree with but they don't claim to be paragons of tolerance like your side does. Therefore, they aren't being hypocritical, like you are.
  • Al B Thayer 2012/08/13 02:37:14
    Al B Thayer
    I believe this battle has already been won.
  • beachbum 2012/08/13 02:27:25
    Certainly his right, but huh, didn't he already know their stance on this?

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