Portland Eagle Scout Returns Medal Over Boy Scouts Policy on Gays 

A Maine man has joined the national movement of returning his Eagle Scout medal to the Boy Scouts of America to protest the organization’s exclusion of gays. Austin Smith of Portland says the silver eagle and the plaque signed by President Nixon he received in 1973 are “precious,” but he can no longer keep them in light of the Boy Scouts’ recent affirmation of its longstanding ban on openly gay scouts and leaders. The 54-year-old architect, who grew up in Columbus, Miss. and earned scouting’s highest honor there, tells The Portland Press Heral, he witnessed racism first hand in the deep South and wants to be “on the right side of history.” A spokesman for the national organization says it does not track how many medals have been returned.