Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Walworth Scout renounces his Eagle Scout Rank over Gay Ban

“My name is Britton Lense, an Eagle Scout from Walworth, NY Troop 113. I was honored in April of 2006 to receive the rank of Eagle Scout and proud to set an example for others. I joined Cub Scouts when I was 6 years old and continued on the trail to an Eagle Scout because of what the organization gave to me and what it meant. In my path towards receiving my rank of Eagle Scout it allowed me to make lifelong friends and laid a very strong groundwork for my leadership, character and teamwork skills.

Recently, I was reading an article on Facebook that a fellow Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster from Rochester, NY was returning his Eagle Scout badge in protest of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) affirming its ban on openly gay scouts and leaders. It was a shock to me, after being with the organization for 12 years I was unaware of their stance of gays and lesbians. This has led me to make a very tough decision, in deciding if I should take the same path of other Eagle Scouts and renounce my Eagle Scout badge.

While this decision was not easy, I referred to the Boy Scout Handbook, and specifically the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. As I read the Scout Oath it told me that I must promise to be morally straight. According to the Boy Scout Handbook, morally straight means “To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.” I looked at the Boy Scout Handbook in relation to someone who is gay and only saw disappointment on numerous occasions. As my values are not aligned with those of the BSA, I am defending those who are gays and lesbians. I am being reverent and faithful in my religious beliefs and that is why I am returning my Eagle Scout Badge and certificates received from many including the President of the United States, New York Governor and Senator, my high school and others.

I have made this decision knowing that change only comes from those who are persistent and dedicated towards what they believe in. I hope that BSA will reverse their decision and in doing so return the badges to those who are standing up for what they believe in, identifying ourselves with the honor of Eagle Scout once again.”

Britton Lense
Jacobs Road, Town of Walworth