CHEVY CHASE, Md. — Change is coming quickly to the Boy Scouts of America after years of turmoil and debate over its membership policy, with an openly gay 17-year-old in Maryland achieving the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
On Monday night, Boy Scout Troop 52 of Chevy Chase, one of the nation’s oldest, formed a circle and gave Pascal Tessier sustained applause and some handshakes and pats on the back. His achievement comes just weeks after the organization lifted its ban on gay youth and may make him the first publicly gay Eagle approved under the new policy.
Scoutmaster Don Beckham walked to the middle of the Scout circle after a series of announcements and announced that the 17-year-old Tessier was officially the troop’s newest Eagle. For Tessier, it represents six years of work, 27 merit badges, and projects in service, leadership, and outdoor skills. He put all that at risk, though, to advocate against the Scouts’ ban on gays.