Eagle Scouts return honors to protest Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy

More than 320 Eagle Scouts return badges, patches

SAN DIEGO - Fifty years have passed, but Daniel Brogan has kept every badge and every photo tucked away in an old cigar box.

"This is a very important piece of my history," said Brogan, a retired architect in Carmel Valley. "I look at it now and I still get excited."

He is excited about the day he received his honors as an Eagle Scout. Only 2 percent of Boy Scouts ever reach this level.

Brogan still has the clipped photo from the ceremony.

"I was terrified," he recalled, "but my parents were so proud.

He also displays a certificate signed by President John F. Kennedy.

But Brogan is giving it all back. The married father of three and grandfather of six said he made the choice to send back his Eagle Scout honors to protest the Boy Scouts of America's anti-gay policy that prevents gay children from becoming members.

"It just doesn't make sense for an organization that espouses leadership and honesty," said Brogan.

He's not alone, as at least 320 Eagle Scouts across the country have sent back their honors and dozens in San Diego County have made the trip to the post office to mail back their badges. It's a small gesture, but activists say it's making a big difference.

"In many cases, I've heard this is the hardest decision they've made, to turn in these badges," said Tyler Dylan-Hyde, a social justice leader at the First Unitarian Universalist Church.

Dylan-Hyde is working to cut corporate funding for the Boy Scouts of America. So far through his work with the Advancing Compassion Project, thousands of signatures on petitions stopped Intel from any further funding of the Boy Scouts. Just last week, UPS followed suit. Verizon is the next target.

"For kids to face discrimination when they're just 13, 14, 15, that really matters," said Dylan-Hyde.

10News spoke with the Boy Scouts of America, and officials said they stand by their policy. In a statement, officials said:

"Although we are disappointed to learn of anyone who feels compelled to return his Eagle rank, we respect their right to express an opinion. While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

10News also asked what happens to the badges they receive. Boy Scouts officials said either they display them in the National Scouting Museum or they keep them in storage.

Brogan's hard-earned badge will join them. He mailed the last of his three Eagle Scout honors in front of 10News cameras. He said just because the Boy Scouts is a private organization doesn't make the policy right.

"It's unacceptable; this is not a golf club in Georgia," said Brogan.

He said the trip to the mailbox isn't the hardest thing he's done.

"Matter of fact, it's easy. I had intended to save these for my grandkids. But there's a bigger cause; it's the right thing to do," said Brogan.

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