Robert J. Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive
& BSA National Executive Board
1325 Walnut Hill Lane
PO Box 152079
Irving, TX 75015
Dear Robert Mazzuca and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA),
My name is Michael Weber; I was a member of Boy Scout Troop 179 in Van Nuys, CA, and in July 2004 I became a rather unconventional Eagle Scout. It is with very mixed feelings that I am returning my Eagle Badge because you continue your policy of banning gay boys and men from the BSA.
In some ways, this feels inevitable. I was at odds with many of the more conservative BSA attitudes at just 14 years old. When I was Senior Patrol Leader and had spiked green hair, other troops would question my abilities to lead. When one of my best friends left our troop and soon became openly gay, people questioned me, as if I were “guilty” by association. And when I was told my anti-war protesting could affect my ability to receive Eagle Scout, I was the one who began to question, “Is this the right organization for me?”
However, I carried on. I gained invaluable skills in personal management, leadership, and outdoors activities. I carried out a park restoration Eagle Scout project, and I twice held the position of Senior Patrol Leader. Then, months before my 18th birthday, I nearly halted my Eagle application process. I wasn’t sure that receiving the highest honor from a homophobic, pro-hunting, anti-Atheist organization was something I could be proud of. But in the end, I decided that if BSA could accept me as I was, then I would gladly accept the Eagle rank. When it came time for my Board of Review, I was pressured by those close to me to lie in response to questions that could compromise my likelihood of passing.
I didn’t. A Scout is trustworthy. I entered the meeting with a blue mohawk hairstyle, and I answered honestly that I didn’t have a single God yet I didn’t feel a spiritual void, that protesting unjust wars made me a better patriot, not a traitor, and that the BSA was on the wrong side of history when it came to gay acceptance. I was told by the Board that they had never deliberated a candidate for that long before - but I passed.
As you can see, the day I obtained the Eagle rank was a very proud moment, but not only for the same reason it is for most. For nearly a decade now, I have felt a great sense of accomplishment at having earned the Eagle rank as such an unlikely candidate. But this pride doesn’t outweigh the burden on my conscience.
It is with tears in my eyes, a heavy heart, and a sick stomach that I return my hard-won Eagle badge. I respectfully ask you to join the right side of history and begin welcoming gay scouts and leaders.
A unconventional Eagle Scout no more,
Michael A. Weber
Eagle Scout, July 2004
Troop 179, Van Nuys, CA