Eagle Scout Steven Colella rescinds status over gay members policy

Colella gave up his Eagle Scout status over the organization's stance on gay people being members. Photo: ABC7

Becoming an Eagle Scout is no easy task, and a rare one at that. Only about 4 percent of Boy Scouts achieve the high status.

In response the organization's controversial stance on allowing gay people to serve as leaders or join the group, though, some of these high-ranking members are giving up their status.

Becoming an Eagle Scout was one of the happiest days of Steven Colella's life. Since he was 5 years old, he wanted to be one. Now, though, as a gay man, he made the difficult decision to give back a medal he worked most of his life for.

In response to the Boy Scouts' reaffirmation to ban openly gay members, the 23-year-old Frederick resident decided to relinquish his status.

"If this organization no longer represents something that I believe in, then I can't be a part of it," Colella said.

He's not the only one, either. More than a half dozen Eagle Scouts nationwide have turned in their medals.

"It saddens me that every day, there is the possibility that someone is being told you aren't good enough for this organization," Colella said. "You can't be a part of it."

In a statement, the Boy Scouts say that "no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society" and that the majority of their membership agrees with the policy.

Collela, though, hopes his decision helps others.

"My hope is that it can influence a new ideology for the organization and it will inspire others to stand up for what they believe in," he said.