Openly gay Boy Scout achieves Eagle Scout designation

Feb. 11, 2014 at 2:56 PM
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CHEVY CHASE, Md., Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Pascal Tessier earned the rank of Eagle Scout in a Chevy Chase, Md., ceremony, making him among the first openly gay Boy Scouts to get the honor, advocates say.

Tessier, 17, a high school senior, was honored at a regular meeting of Troop 52 in a local church Monday evening. A formal ceremony will be held for him and fellow Eagle designates in June, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Tessier risked his opportunity to become an Eagle when he participated in a public demonstration last year, prior to a meeting of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America at which it was voted the organization would accept gay scouts but not gay adult leaders.

The new policy went into effect last month. Gay rights advocates believe Tessier is the first openly gay Eagle Scout, the newspaper said.

"It's kind of a backhanded acceptance," he said of his achievement. "We accept you for now. It says to you, you're a monster of some sort."

"I don't know of any other scouts out there who have said, 'I am gay and I defy BSA [Boy Scouts of America] to kick me out,' and Pascal has done that," said Eric Andersen of the Scouts for Equality group, whose gay son Ryan was denied Eagle status in 2012 although he had completed the requirements.

A BSA spokesman said 55,000 scouts earn the Eagle honor each year.

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