Shame on the Boy Scouts

Just in case the Boy Scouts hadn't hurt their reputation enough, they just told a longtime Boy Scout in California that he can't be an Eagle Scout—because he came out as gay, according to Yahoo. 

Yes, it's stupid to screen out adult gay men as Scoutmasters, but at least you could assume that, once upon a time, the Boy Scouts did that because they genuinely (if mistakenly) confused gay men with pedophiles. If all you hear in "homosexuality" is the "sexuality" part, and if you want to protect boys from predators, that mistake can be explained. The problem, of course, is that by looking for predators in the wrong group, the Boy Scouts let the real molesters slip back in again and again. But the only heart you break, there, is that of an adult who can get a little perspective. It's nasty, too, to tell a stay-at-home mom that she can't be the den mother of her son's Cub Scout pack because she's a lesbian—even though the other parents drafted her for the volunteer spot. But at least Jennifer Tyrrell was an adult who could handle her disappointment. 

But this latest is just outrageous. Here's what Yahoo is reporting: 

Ryan Andresen, who lives near San Francisco, recently finished an extensive service project needed to earn his Eagle Scout award, but his troop leader refuses to give him the rank. "He said he can't because Ryan said he is gay," said Karen Andresen, the scout's mother. Ryan claims the scoutmaster knew about his sexual orientation well before he started the project and paperwork for the honor. "He had been telling me all along that we'd get by the gay thing," Ryan told Yahoo News. "It was by far the biggest goal of my life. It's totally devastating."

The Boy Scouts are already losing donors like Intel for hanging on to an anachronistic and widely disbelieved point of view on what it means to be "morally straight." Zach Wahls' Scouts for Equality says that nearly 300 Eagle Scouts have returned their medals in protest. How much longer are they going to hang on to their bias, in the process breaking kids' hearts? 

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