Long before Martin Cizmar, the current Arts & Culture Editor at Willamette Week, was the music editor at Phoenix New Times, he was an Eagle Scout under Boy Scouts of America.
Yesterday, he sent his badge back to the organization along with a letter of resignation over the Boy Scouts of America's decision to uphold its anti-gay policy.
"A national policy on sexuality forces good, principled people from scouting," Cizmar writes in his letter to BSA's . "I can only hope that someone inside the BSA has the courage to fix this policy before the organization withers into irrelevance."
We spoke to him today about his letter, which he explains as a hard, but important decision ...
"Earlier this week the Scout executive re-affirmed the ban [on openly gay scouts and leaders participating in the organization] after a "secret" committee reviewed it," Cizmar tells New Times. "They haven't named the committee or provided any real insight, which was, for me, the final straw. I'd been thinking about it for a long time, but that's what finally pushed the button. I dug out the badge, thought about it overnight and then got up and wrote the letter."
Cizmar, who's straight, says the letter wasn't easy to write. "It was kinda hard, actually. Embarrassingly so, in some ways. But I'm so glad I did it. All the feedback I've gotten has been really positive and I hope it can inspire the BSA to take another (not secret) look at the policy. Until it changes, I don't want to be part of the organization."
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The letter, is included below:
In the 24 hours since he wrote the letter, and sent it during his lunch break, the image above has gone viral on REDDIT and on Twitter. Cizmar says he continues to receive feedback via social media.
"I think one of the most surprising things has been how many people from Tallmadge, Ohio, which is a reasonably conservative little town where people dress up the cement geese on their porches in seasonal attire have sought me out to give a few words of support," Cizmar says. "That should give the Scouts some insight into how attitudes have changed on this issue."