Lou. man mails back high ranking Boy Scout badge to protest gay policy


by WHAS11


Posted on July 31, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 1 at 12:08 PM

(WHAS11) -- Jackson Cooper, 33, wrote a letter last week to the Boy Scouts of America that he never thought he would.

“It is with a heavy heart that I return to you the Eagle Scout medal and badge I earned as a member of Troop 342 in Louisville, Ky,” wrote Cooper.

Cooper earned the honor when he was 17-years-old, but he said he wanted to give it up.

“In Boy Scouts, I found a safe place and environment that included and encouraged even the most outcast boys in our school and neighborhood,” Cooper said.

The Boy Scouts of America emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays in July after a confidential two-year review. Several Eagle Scouts were prompted by the move to return their badges with letters complaining about the decision to leaders of the organization.

“My mom was gay and she was a lesbian and she was a wonderful woman,” Cooper said.

Before Cooper’s mom died in a tragic car accident in 2005, she assisted as a den mother supervising scouts.

“The thought that I have invested such a large part of my life with an organization that would have turned my own mother away breaks my heart,” wrote Cooper.

The Boy Scouts of America emailed WHAS11 the following statement:

“Scouting represents millions of youth and adult members in diverse communities across the nation, each with a variety of beliefs. While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society. Although we are disappointed to learn of anyone who feels compelled to return his Eagle rank, we fully understand and appreciate that not everyone will agree with any one position or policy.”