A Letter to the Boy Scouts of America
Steve Barnes, Scout Executive
San Francisco Bay Area Council
Boy Scouts of America
San Leandro, CA 94577
Dear Mr. Barnes:
Enclosed you will find what was at one time one of the treasures of my
life - my Eagle Scout Medal. It was pinned on my chest by my late
mother, Alice Huff, on the stage of a public park in a small city in
Oklahoma in 1943 when I was a fifteen year old lad. While this medal
was once a precious symbol of how much scouting meant to my personal
growth and development as a young man, I am now returning it to the Boy
Scouts of America because I can no longer acknowledge any ties with the
scouting movement due to its now court sanctioned discrimination against
those who acknowledge themselves to be gay.
My own record and experience as a Boy Scout in addition to the Eagle
award with a Gold Palm, included earning 34 merit badges and reaching
the rank of Junior Assistant Scoutmaster during my late teen years. I
spent part of two summers in northern New Mexico in glorious camping
experiences at Philmont Scout Ranch. Scouting's influence on my
development as a young man was second only to that of my church and
family and no doubt even contributed to my calling to become a
Yet now, frankly I am appalled at the gap between the values I received
as a scout and a scout leader over fifty years ago and the current
twisted notion of what the phrase "morally straight" has long referred
to in scouting. I was not taught by scoutmasters of former years, even
in Oklahoma in the 40s, that morality and intolerance could be joined.
As Seven Cozza of Petaluma, California has said so eloquently, "to be
morally straight means to live by your values, to be true to yourself.
It has nothing to do with a person's sexual orientation".
So it is with great disappointment and sorrow that I make this symbolic
gesture both to demonstrate my protest of the discriminatory policies of
the Boy Scouts of America and to affirm my solidarity with all gay men
affected by those policies.
(Rev.) Gene Huff,
San Francisco, California
Web publication of this document provided by the
Interfaith Working Group Online