BY NATASHA BARSOTTI –
"My name is Martin Cizmar and I am returning my Eagle Scout badge to protest the Boy Scouts of America's policy of discriminating against gay scouts and scouters."
That's how Cizmar's July 19 letter to the Boy Scouts' national council begins.
In the letter, Cizmar, an arts and culture editor of Portland, Oregon's Willamette Week, says he's not gay but has been acquainted with a number of gay scouts and scouters, calling them "great men" who were "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. I suspect you know this, too," he writes.
"It's not easy to part with a badge that represented my young life's biggest accomplishment," he adds, "but I know this is the right thing to do."
He goes on, "A national policy on sexuality forces good, principled people from scouting. I can only hope that someone inside the BSA has the courage to fix this policy before the organization withers into irrelevance.
"I don't want to be an Eagle Scout if a young man who is gay can't be one, too. Gentlemen, please do the right thing," he concludes.
Ciznar's response to the BSA's recent decision to reaffirm its policy of excluding gay people comes on the heels of the most recent ouster, of 19-year-old Eagle Scout Eric Jones, who was told to leave the Scouts after coming out to his Missouri camp director. Jones had been a Boy Scouts' member for 10 years.
Landing image: twitter.com/martincizmar