Seattle lawyer returns Eagle Scout badge in protest

SEATTLE — A Seattle lawyer is turning in his Eagle Scout badge in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gays.

Joseph Shaeffer is a civil rights and employment attorney with the firm McDonald, Hoague and Bayless. He said he was a scout in Tallahassee, Fla., and became an Eagle Scout in 1987.

He mailed back his badge last week, saying he was joining hundreds of other Eagle Scouts in protest. He wrote that “instead of living up to its values, the Boy Scouts have chosen to exclude people because of who they love.”

The organization has been wrestling with the issue. The 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council will vote May 20 on a proposal to allow sponsors of individual Scout units to decide whether to admit gays.

About 70 percent of all Scout units are sponsored by religious denominations, including many by conservative faiths that have supported the ban, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon church, and the Southern Baptist Convention.

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